Elizabeth Warren Was the Debate Night’s Quiet Star.

She did everything she needed to do.

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Photo via Elizabeth Warren on Instagram

Wednesday June 26th was the night of the first Presidential Primary debates, and the official kickoff of the 2020 election season for the Democrats. As to be expected, there were a few that really stood out from the pack. Julian Castro for example came out surprisingly strong, particularly on the issue of Immigration, and will probably see a rise in the polls. But as much as he impressed me, Elizabeth Warren was the one who stood out to me the most.

She made it clear she was there to play no games and came out swinging, doing exactly what she had to do to solidify her position as a front runner in the race. There’s no denying that I’ve been disenchanted with her lately, but I have to admit she might have drawn me back in. In her first remarks, she didn’t shy away from identifying the problem that so many Americans view as the root of all others: corruption. To keep reiterating that point as she did clearly separated her from the pack in a way that resonated with me, and I have a feeling it resonated with the rest of the audience as well.

Perhaps one of the most surprising moments of the evening was when Warren happened to be only one of two candidates to raise her hand and say she was in favor of Medicare for All, even in spite of the fact that the question was framed in such a right wing fashion. She took the opportunity to align herself with Bernie on the issue, and given that this was one of her weak spots in the past I certainly appreciated it. Whether she was genuine or not is another question, but at least her answer was a clear indicator that she’s indeed factoring in criticism she’s hearing from the grass roots organizations on the ground. She explained her views better than almost all others on stage, and told the public what Medicare for All would actually accomplish.

While Elizabeth didn’t speak much at all during the second half of the debate, she still reaffirmed her position as one of the most powerful forces on the debate stage and certainly didn’t hold back when it came to Mitch McConnell. The Hill reports:

“Asked by MSNBC’s Chuck Todd if she had a “plan” for McConnell if he is still the Senate majority leader in 2021, when the next presidential term begins, Warren replied: “I do.”

“Short of a Democratic majority in the Senate, you better understand the fight still goes on. It starts in the White House and it means that everybody we energize in 2020 stays on the front lines come January 2021,” Warren said.

“We have to push from the outside, have leadership from the inside and make this Congress reflect the will of the people,” she added.”

The last part of her answer in particular is exactly what the democratic base needed to hear. It’s time for action, and forcing republicans to return to the table and abide by the will of the electorate. There’s no doubt in my mind after last night that Warren will not shy away from at least attempting to make that happen, and it was incredibly refreshing to see her no-nonsense stance amidst a field of candidates all too willing to compromise before they even have to.

When you’re a front runner in one of these races, the debates are essentially just about reiterating your positions and making sure you don’t mess up. Warren accomplished that and much more. I’ve missed the Elizabeth Warren that I saw on the debate stage. Even when she wasn’t speaking her presence was felt, and she virtually guaranteed that she will be one of the last few standing. I love the fighter that lies within her, and I’m so excited to see it come out again and again as we move forward through this process. I am thoroughly looking forward to the night when she, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden share a debate stage.

Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx

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