Illustration by Aida Irving

Elizabeth Warren would be a fantastic 46th president

The first primaries of the 2020 presidential election are about four months away, and the crowded race to become the Democratic candidate is continuing to narrow down to just a few people. However, many voters are just now starting to tune into the election and might be wondering who to support. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with her liberty green and navy blue, a beautiful golden retriever Bailey and her seemingly endless stream of plans, has swiftly become my favorite candidate in the race. I believe that she has shown that she truly cares about all Americans and that she knows how to change the system in a responsible way, qualities sorely missing in the White House today.

Warren grew up in Oklahoma in a family that lived on the edge of the middle class. Despite their financial troubles, Warren persisted and was able to go to college at the University of Houston. She went on to earn her J.D. from Rutgers University and later taught law at Harvard University, where she focused on studying bankruptcy and how single events like a job loss or a hospital bill can send someone into debt. Warren’s academic work was so groundbreaking that President Obama invited her to Washington D.C. in 2010 to help create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but he ultimately nominated someone else to lead it after Republicans refused to even consider Warren. Inspired to make change, Warren ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012, beating the incumbent Republican and becoming Massachusetts’ first female senator.

Now, Warren is running a presidential campaign focused on “big, structural change” in Washington. The official slogan created and pushed out by her team is “Dream Big, Fight Hard,” but Warren’s mountain of policy proposals that she began releasing early on in her campaign to address a variety of issues has led to the well-known and meme-worthy alternative, “Warren Has a Plan for That.” Warren is banking on grassroots support to catapult her to the White House, even frequently calling people who have donated as little as $1 to voice her gratitude. Along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren has also made herself out to be one of the most progressive candidates in the race, contrasting herself with some of the more moderate Democrats running.

But not every candidate is perfect, and Warren’s campaign is not without criticism. For years, Warren has shared family stories about having Native American ancestry, but she has faced skepticism from many people, including President Donald Trump. To defend herself, Warren released a video sharing the results of a DNA test showing that she did, in fact, have some small amount of Native American heritage. This ultimately backfired when the Cherokee Nation released a statement saying that using such a DNA test does not determine tribal membership. While this dealt a blow to Warren’s image, the actions she took next proved that she is willing to admit when she has made a mistake. Warren responded by apologizing, saying that she is neither a person of color nor a member of the Cherokee tribe and that she understands the important distinction between ancestry and tribal membership. Some have doubted the authenticity of this apology, but New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland, one of the first two Native American women in Congress, has endorsed Warren. The two even worked together to create a part of Warren’s plan for Native American communities that allocates money specifically for programs that benefit Native Americans. Through her response, Warren has acknowledged her privilege as a white woman and is working diligently with Native American people to be an effective ally and make meaningful change.

Elizabeth Warren makes me hopeful for the future. I would like to live in a country led by a strong, intelligent and compassionate woman like her, especially after four years of Trump. She has a clear history of fighting for all Americans and working to change the system so it works for more than the rich and powerful. I am extremely excited for Warren to become our nation’s first female president, and I hope you are too.

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