Warren the best choice from a great field

Warren the best choice from a great field

EDITORIAL

BY ART CULLEN

Elizabeth Warren spoke volumes to us when she launched her Presidential campaign in January with a swing through Council Bluffs, Sioux City and Storm Lake in Northwest Iowa, the most conservative and rural part of the state, planting her flag and declaring that nobody will be left behind.

“If Democrats are going to build a grassroots movement, they have to go where the people are — all the people, not just some,” Warren told us then. “I grew up in Oklahoma. Your main drag looks like mine in Wetumka. The core values we shared are the core values that Americans believe in — they want their kids to have a fighting chance to build a future here.”

Warren promised us that she would come back — and she did because she said she would, despite scheduler protestations.

The senator from Massachusetts returned to Storm Lake in March for an Iowa Farmers Union forum on rural issues where she ruled the day among five candidates. She pledged to enforce anti-trust laws and bust up the corporations that have a chokehold on agriculture, have made farmers serfs on their own land, and have spawned a steady deterioration in rural communities from West Virginia to Wetumka.

Warren developed the most extensive agenda for rural America built around regenerative agriculture, open and transparent markets, restoring labor rights and reversing the hegemony on the working class in place for the last 50 years.

Plant fencerow to fencerow using these chemicals, Nixon Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz exhorted, and we will feed the world. The result is half as many Iowa farmers today, two-thirds of our 99 counties draining population, and abandoned schools and small-town prospects from Albert City to Zearing. And still, Latin Americans become refugees driven by drought and hunger spawned in no small part by that agri-chemical cycle.

Warren is charting a course that uses agriculture to lead the battle against climate change by paying farmers to sequester carbon and prevent surface water pollution. She will lead the charge to get agriculture off the chemical jones that is killing the Gulf of Mexico and stealing our precious soil. She will pursue a trade agenda that enforces environmental and labor protections. And she will not forget about rural hospitals, nursing homes and mental health clinics being blown out by Wall Street investors paying K Street lobbyists. She will end the terror on immigrants who make Storm Lake and Sioux City home and rejuvenate rural communities.

Warren is campaigning to give us a fighting chance.

We have met nearly all the surviving candidates and believe any of them would restore integrity and honor to the Oval Office. We love Joe Biden. Bernie Sanders thunders the truth. Pete Buttigieg has shown an amazing ability in Iowa to bring people together.

We continue to believe that Amy Klobuchar, the granddaughter of a union Iron Range miner, can win Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania next November. She knows agriculture and rural communities. She understands that the challenges of Mankato are those of Dubuque and Sheboygan.

We continue to believe that John Delaney understands the thorny health care issue best, given his experience financing small health-care providers. He proposes, essentially, free universal coverage while not eliminating private insurers. Warren has been moving in his policy direction in recent weeks, and she should come to it with a full embrace before the general election.

Warren has been under withering attack since we met her. The corporate titans are terrified that she might give labor respect again. The global agri-chemical giants were so alarmed they convened in June (with “Get Big Or Get Out” Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue in tow, says Politico) to model a climate-change lite approach for agriculture to sell as a faux solution. The insurance industry will pay any price to keep her out of the White House — enter, Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick. It’s one of the most compelling arguments for her: That the malefactors of great wealth are so deviously and unanimously against her.

When we have interviewed her, Warren comes across as a person of great warmth, integrity and razor-sharp intellect. She is a Main Street capitalist, not a Wall Street predator. She worked her way through college as a single mother and rose to professor at Harvard Law School studying why people go bankrupt — primarily, over a rigged health care system that puts profits first and leaves patients out. Every time we hear her speak, we think, “You know, she’s right.” The working class has been plundered. The Gulf of Mexico is dying. California is burning, and dairy farmers are drowning in a sea of corporate milk.

We need bold, structural change. Going back to the good old days is impossible, and it’s not good enough. Getting past the fight is a day that never comes. Progressives who say that the possible is impossible are afraid of the future or don’t accurately read the present. Warren knows this is a fight that’s been waged since the Gilded Age that now replays itself with no regard for Council Bluffs, Sioux City or Storm Lake. She has no illusions. She knows the stakes. And she knows what is right.

Warren shows a real feeling for places left behind because she comes from there. She had hollered herself hoarse that day in January railing against the corruption on defiant display in the White House. Elizabeth Warren is fighting on principle like nobody else to give us a chance. It’s why she is our first choice among a marvelous field approaching the Iowa Caucuses on Feb. 3.

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