How we’ll win

By Roger Lau

One of the things we keep hearing out on the road goes something like this: “Elizabeth Warren would make the best president, but can she really win?”

I wanted to make sure you have my answer for how we see this fight, and how we plan to win it. I hope you’ll take a look.

And of course, we’re keen to hear your feedback and thoughts. Please feel free to leave a comment below, or text FEEDBACK to 24477. We can’t promise to get back to everyone, but we promise to read every message.

MEMO

Elizabeth Warren is the president America badly needs. She’s running on bold, structural solutions to tackle the corruption that’s squeezing working people and undermining our democracy. And she’s the leader with the fearlessness, practicality, and persistence it will take to bring those solutions to life.

Elizabeth’s unlikely rise to national attention obscures the fact that she is relatively new to electoral politics. She was speaking up and taking on powerful forces long before she ever ran for office, and she’s comfortable making the wealthy and well-connected uncomfortable.

But that also means she’s coming into this race as an underdog — and all but guarantees she will lag behind many of the career politicians in this race in establishment support and fundraising. From bankers to right-wing pundits to the president of the United States, Elizabeth Warren has made some loud and powerful enemies. FDR once put it quite well: “Judge me by the enemies I have made.”

Her route to winning the nomination is through organizing, connecting with, and unapologetically standing with working people. It will not be a campaign aimed at pundits and big-donor flattery.

She will campaign in the same way she has spent her career as a teacher, consumer advocate, and public servant: she will work smarter, fight tougher, and persist longer than anyone else.

Elizabeth Warren can and will win this primary and win the general election. Here’s how it’s going to come together:

  • Elizabeth is defining this race with substance — and her ideas are overwhelmingly popular with voters across the country. Elizabeth believes that the next president must be a Democrat who wins and governs in a way that fundamentally rebalances power in our society, and gives everyone, including people of color, the level playing field they have been denied. She’s called for a wealth tax on ultra-millionaires, universal child care for every American family, breaking up big companies that crush competition, and fundamental reforms to protect our democracy (like eliminating the Electoral College). On issue after issue, polling shows that Elizabeth’s positions are popular with a majority of voters: 74% of people, including a majority of Republicans, support the wealth tax. Her proposal to create generic versions of life-saving drugs is even supported by nearly half of Trump voters.
  • Elizabeth connects with people on a personal level and cuts through the noise. Even as the media grapples with the double standards at play in discussing a field of diverse candidates, Elizabeth is cutting through the noise and connecting with people. She knows exactly why she’s running for president because she’s been driven by the same conviction for her whole career as a teacher and expert in the economics of middle-class families. She’s right at home in open town hall events that early-state voters use to size up candidates — talking about her own personal story, the problems facing America, and solutions to those problems. She also takes open questions at every event: to date, she has answered 199 questions (all unscreened!) from voters during 43 public events. She’s answered 637 questions from reporters during 112 press conferences and interviews. And across 12 states plus Puerto Rico, she has hugged, shaken hands, fist bumped or otherwise met one-on-one with more than 12,000 people — and most got to take a selfie, too.
  • Voters want someone who gets big things done for working people (and we’ve got the receipts). We hear a lot about this, and it’s a key strength we have in this race. Elizabeth Warren dreamt up, got through Congress, and personally stood up a whole new consumer agency dedicated to helping working people and holding corporate power accountable — all in the face of a powerful financial industry spending a million dollars a day to stop reform in its tracks. And that was before she ever ran for office. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has already made big banks return $12 billion directly to consumers they scammed. It’s a cop on the beat every day. In the Senate, despite the dysfunction of Republican control, she is also an unusually effective legislator. In just the first two years of Trump’s presidency, Elizabeth introduced 42 bills and resolutions that have gotten Republican support and has worked successfully to get over a dozen proposals signed into law. When Elizabeth Warren talks about getting big things done, she knows what she’s talking about because she’s done it.
  • Democrats want someone who knows how to win, and Elizabeth Warren is the only candidate in this race who has defeated an incumbent Republican statewide in the last 25 years (and that guy was actually popular, unlike Donald Trump). Republicans in the Senate wanted to undermine that new consumer agency Elizabeth had set up, so they blocked her from leading it permanently. So, in 2012, she went back home, ran against one of those Republican Senators, and beat him. He was a popular, moderate, incumbent Republican who had vast resources and the backing of the national Republican machine. In fact, her opponent had gotten elected by defeating a very well-qualified woman who everyone expected would win, causing many well-intentioned people to question whether a woman could even be elected. Elizabeth started down 17 points. She won by 7.5. Elizabeth Warren knows how to fight and she knows how to win.
  • We’re building a strong grassroots campaign grounded in organizing and person-to-person contact. Elizabeth takes no money from PACs or federal lobbyists, and she isn’t out auditioning to billionaires to put together a Super PAC to support her. She’s also not spending her time and organizational energy crisscrossing the country raising money from wealthy donors behind closed doors so she can create a perception of strength. Instead, she is building real strength and organization on the ground. The Democratic nomination must be earned, not purchased, and that’s why Elizabeth is focusing her time and energy on building a grassroots movement. We’re running the most tightly-integrated organizing, data, and technology operation at this stage of a primary, ever, and we have been since day one. In the early states, we already have more than 80 staffers on the ground building the field operation it will take to win. Elizabeth herself has already taken a dozen trips to the four early states, holding more than 30 public events. And she’s visited more of the Super Tuesday states than anyone else in the race. Her decision to forgo high-dollar events means she’s had the time to thank grassroots donors at pop-up events across the country and personally on the phone. It means she has been able to spend more time communicating her vision for the country to voters through interviews. And it means she has had time to meet with Democrats across the country who are often ignored: she’s already been to Puerto Rico and the Mississippi Delta, talking and organizing with people who our government and our politics too often leave behind.
  • We’re committed to strengthening our party and helping elect Democrats up and down the ballot, because a president can’t do it alone. In 2018, Elizabeth spent her time and resources helping elect Democrats up and down the ballot, not running up the score for herself (she defeated Donald Trump’s state campaign chairman by 24 points without running a single TV ad). She raised or gave more than $11 million to elect other Democrats. Here’s why that’s important: a successful Democratic candidate in the general election will be one with a clear agenda for fundamental reform that boosts the entire ticket up and down the ballot. Our grassroots strategy will focus especially on states with Senate races in 2020 and on state legislative efforts where Democrats are poised to make gains ahead of the next round of redistricting. We know that Donald Trump didn’t just happen; his election is the outgrowth of a Republican Party machine engaged in a long-term, disgraceful project to divide white working people from black and brown working people, while letting the rich and powerful run wild in Washington. Every Republican who has enabled Trump or hidden behind party loyalty should be held accountable.
  • Electability requires boldness. The American people voted for big change in 2018: in addition to electing more women to Congress than ever before, they elected a broad, diverse Democratic caucus to the U.S. House from every part of the country, rewarding candidates who called out corruption in Washington and who campaigned on bold ideas. This is not a moment for incrementalism or timidity; it is a moment for moral clarity about the structure of our economy, our society, and our democracy. Neither President Barack Obama nor President Donald Trump fit the idea of “electability”. Elections are not won by nominees chosen to appeal to or pacify the other side: elections are won by candidates who inspire their party’s voters to turn out on Election Day and who have an effective organization to drive it home. We have both those things: Elizabeth’s ideas are widely acknowledged to be the gold standard in this primary, and the organization she leads is robust and growing on the ground.

So here’s a quick thought exercise: imagine waking up on January 20th, 2021. It’s cold but sunny, people are gathering on the National Mall, and the new president is about to be sworn in and get to work.

Which Democratic candidate do you believe will seek and deliver the fundamental change that’s essential to fix our economy and save our democracy?

If the thought of President Warren taking her seat in the Oval Office and getting down to business makes you excited and relieved and hopeful about America’s future, then know this: That means she can win.

And not only can she win, but with your support, she will.