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  • Joshua Ballance

How Elizabeth Warren Broke My Heart

Nevertheless she persisted, until Thursday, that is.

Like plenty of other university graduates, I’ve spent the last thirteen months dreaming about a Warren presidency. Despite the low-points that accompany any campaign, I’ve fervently clung on to the belief that she would make the greatest president of anyone in the running.

Her strengths lay not only in her multitude of policy plans, but as Ezra Klein argued in his case for her, that she understands government. Moreso than any of her competitors, she gets how her authority as president would operate: the limits of executive action with regard to legislation, the importance of personnel appointments, the possibilities of regulation.

Slated as she was for delaying on healthcare, when she eventually released her proposal, at its heart lay the way this would be achieved. As much as the bros liked to attack her for apparently diluting their rigid dogma, here was someone who truly wanted to help people, who viewed her potential as president through the lens of what she could do.

Indeed, beyond the policy questions, throughout the campaign she has repeatedly demonstrated how she cares about people, how she connects with them. From the endless selfie-lines to the small-donor calls she remains Liz from Oklahoma.

At its heart, my admiration for her represents a broader hope in a system that so obviously rejects, and yet claims the mantle of, meritocracy: that the person most qualified for the job deserves the job. In many ways, this is what Obama represented. It’s an obviously naïve West Wing-style approach that yearns for politics to be a contest of intellect, competence, and understanding.

I’ve never had such hope in a politician. None of the rash of incompetents that have defined British politics during my lifetime have inspired anything like this feeling. Despite the current fad for rejecting specialists (waning as quickly as COVID-19 spreads), she embraced expertise and competence. It’s hard to think of a better role model.

Whatever the reasons that voters ultimately rejected her – and I can certainly think of one that stands out – for slightly over a year she made me dream about something bigger than just her. I know she will keep fighting hard. So, thank you Elizabeth.


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© 2020 by Joshua Ballance