The opening line to Elizabeth Warren’s essay, “The Vanishing Middle Class,” is the following: “A strong middle class is the best ally of the poor.” This line encapsulates her passionate advocacy for increasing opportunities for members of the United States’s middle class to thrive. She has been fighting for the survival of the middle class for many years: in 2004, she and her daughter published The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Families Are Going Broke, which explores the reasons behind increases in personal bankruptcy rates and economic insecurity in American households. In 2007, her essay, “The Vanishing Middle Class,” was featured in John Edwards’ Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream. Warren uses logic and statistics to explain why the middle class is struggling to stay alive and support her desire for economic change. Much of her campaign for the presidency has been built on these ideals.
Warren, currently a senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts, announced her candidacy for president in 2020 on February 9, 2019, to a crowd of cheering supporters. As the crowd chanted “Warren, Warren, Warren,” she cited a long list of statistics that demonstrate a lack of financial support for members of the American middle class, especially for families of color. She told her supporters that the difference between white and black home ownership rates has increased from 27% to 30% since 1960, when the discrimination against home-owning families of color was legal: “Race matters, and we need to say so.” She furthered this theme with lines like, “Too little accountability for the rich, too little opportunity for everyone else,” and “These…rich guys have been waging class warfare against hardworking people for decades. I say it’s time to fight back.”
Senator Warren makes her mission crystal clear: to help the struggling members of America’s middle class get back on their feet. She has some insight into what middle class families are going through: when she was 12 years old, her father lost his job, and her family almost lost their house. Her 50-year-old mother got a job for the first time outside the home at Sears. According to Warren, “That job saved our house, and it saved our family.” Now, Sen. Warren wants to make sure other middle class families can survive job losses without falling into poverty. Among other policy proposals, Warren has declared her plans for allowing workers at large American businesses to elect 40% of their board members; enacting an Ultra-Millionaire Tax on the 75,000 richest families in the United States in order to fund universal childcare, student loan debt relief, and down payments on the Green New Deal and Medicare for All; and decreasing home rental costs by 10%. Unlike the majority of presidential candidates, Warren has offered a slew of tangible policy ideas that give voters a more specific idea of what she will fight for as president. Warren’s plans are ambitious, but perhaps these ambitious plans will help her become one of the front-runners, or even the winner, of the 2020 presidential ballot.