Progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took aim at the Democratic Party’s diminishing moderate wing at the annual Netroots Nation meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday and said the party’s progressives are “Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.”
Warren began her speech in front of approximately 1,000 activists by mocking a New York Times opinion piece by Mark Penn and Andrew Stein which called for Democrats to go “back to the center.”
She said, “A few weeks ago, I read an op-ed in the New York Times, by a so-called Democratic strategist and the title was ‘Back to the Center, Democrats.'” The crowd booed. “It was all about how we have to stop caring about ‘identity politics’ and how we have to stop waging ‘class warfare.'” Warren continued, “Apparently, the path forward is to go back to locking up non-violent drug offenders and ripping more holes in our economic safety net.” She added, “Apparently, I’m the face of the problem. So is Bernie. But let’s be really clear here – the real power, the real threat, is not me—it’s you, all of you. It’s your energy, your passion, and your commitment to our values that threaten the bland, business-as-usual establishment.”
Without mentioning him by name, Warren chided former President Bill Clinton’s policies — one, in particular, that was denounced by the left — saying, “The Democratic Party isn’t going back to the days of welfare reform and the crime bill. It is not going to happen.”
In 1994, Clinton passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which made minor drug offenses punishable.
At one point during Warren’s speech, an audience member shouted something about Palestine.
Warren told the crowd of progressives, “We are not the gate crashers of today’s Democratic Party. We are not a wing of today’s Democratic Party. We are the heart and soul of today’s Democratic Party. But, boy, we’ve inherited a hell of a challenge, haven’t we?”
Warren went on to say, “We don’t have to ask permission from the pundits or the corporate CEOs. And we sure don’t have to ask permission from Mitch McConnell,” referring to an incident in February where she was silenced for violating the chamber’s decorum by “impugning” then-candidate for Attorney General Jeff Sessions ahead of his confirmation. “Actually, that’s a good thing because I think he would probably tell me to sit down and shut up. Nevertheless, I would persist,” she said.
Chants of “Warren 2020” filled the room.
In February, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said of her, “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
His last three words became a rallying cry of the progressives who are hoping Warren will run for president in 2020. Warren has insisted she is “not running for president.” But many aren’t buying it.
The left-wing firebrand, who has been openly critical of capitalism, is making a lot of money selling “she persisted” and other branded Warren-branded merchandise, including action figures, tote bags, hats and temporary tattoos, among other items.
In closing, Warren told her followers, “This fight is our fight. This fight is the fight Americans have been waiting for someone to take on. This fight is the fight Americans are ready to rally behind. This fight is the fight Americans are counting on us to win. This fight is my fight. This fight is your fight. So let’s go win it!”