Elizabeth Warren stopped in a former airport hanger in Aurora, Colorado, part of the fast-growing Denver outskirts, yesterday (April 16) to talk climate change, healthcare, and inequality in America.
Warren, the Democratic presidential candidate with the most extensive policy platform, joked about being told to stop concentrating so much policy and to “smile more.”
She also delivered her signature message about America’s lost promise, through a tale of her own mother taking her first-ever job outside of the home. Warren’s mother answered phones at Sears for minimum wage, to help keep the family home in Oklahoma from being repossessed after her father fell ill. But “now a minimum-wage job will not keep a momma and her baby out of poverty, and that is wrong, and that is why I am in this fight,” Warren said.
Warren called out big banks, big pharma, and big oil, and also the billionaire conservative-activist Koch brothers for rigging Washington DC politics to benefit their bottom line.
Why this stop is important
Colorado is considered one of the few 2020 battleground states in the western half of the US, and any serious presidential candidate is expected to make it part of their campaign trail.
The state has voted for the Democratic candidate in the past three presidential election and Democrats were triumphant here in the midterms. Yet Colorado has a solid, powerful bank of Republicans voters. Once proudly #NeverTrump, the state GOP organization has been seized by Trump enthusiasts. The rest of the US is also looking towards Colorado for lessons to be learned from marijuana legalization and the new governor’s plans to expunge weed convictions from criminal records.
Who was in the crowd?
An estimated 1,500 people. Everyone from the grey-haired to the purple-haired: parents, grandparents, and plenty of babies-in-arms. Kids rambled outside the open airport hanger door when they got antsy. Lots of jeans, practical layered outdoor gear and an occasional pair of cowboy boots.
Dolly Parton belting the chorus of “9 to 5” (“It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it”).
Most popular lines
Warren got applause for calling out corruption, for her pledges to fix a system that benefits big companies over everyday Americans, and for her promise to protect the national parks. Her declaring what a “Warren administration” would do “when I’m in the White House” earned the biggest spontaneous cheers.
Warren indicated to reporters that she’d consider a Fox News campaign appearance. She noted that only of one of her three brothers is a Democrat. A second watches Fox news “24 hours a day” and a third thinks “maybe that’s too far left.” After she urged attendees to reach out to people they know to change their minds, a reporter asked later whether she’d do a Fox town hall. Talk to my communications director, Warren said.
What voters say
Drawn by Warren’s policies, many young parents said they came to suss out whether she could actually take the White House.
“I do not want Trump to win another election. It’s early yet, and I’m trying to get a sense” of who stands the best chance of making sure he doesn’t, said Molly Wink, 40, who works at a Denver art museum. She came with her two daughters. She said it’s unfortunate that the question “Who can beat him'” is so important, but that’s where we are in the Democratic race.
Warren’s “platform and presence did give me more confidence in her and made me glad she is in fact running,” said Casey Rizzo, 31, who brought her 17-month old daughter. “Are her childcare and tuition ideas enough to get my vote? Jury is still out, but I’m more on-board with her than I was before seeing her today.”
A “PERSIST” shirt will soon be available in an infant onesie, by crowd request.