Guest Opinion: Elizabeth Warren has the vision and the plans for big, structural change

A Democratic state senator writes why the Massachusetts senator and presidential hopeful makes the best counterargument against President Trump in 2020.


Katie Goodale

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, addresses the crowd during the Polk County Steak Fry in Des Moines on Saturday Sept. 21, 2019. 17 democratic candidates gave speeches and grilled steaks.

It is a time for choosing in America. The Iowa caucuses are nearing, the 2020 presidential election is looming, and these next several months will define the future of our state and our nation for the rest of our lives.

For Americans who believe in liberty and justice for all, defeating President Trump is not enough. The next president must dedicate herself to defeating the forces that made Trump’s election possible in the first place. She must understand why Trump won, commit to ensuring it never happens again, and persist until the work is done.

I have endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., because I know she will be that president. She’ll be on campus from 3:45-5:30 p.m. Monday for a town hall at the IMU, and I hope you’ll join me in hearing her vision for the future of our country at this crucial time.

We must choose a president who understands Trump intentionally inflames racism and xenophobia to divide Americans against each other — and to distract from his obscene tax giveaways to millionaires and billionaires, his relentless attacks on Obamacare, and his deeply unpopular actions worsening climate change.

We must choose a president who understands that Republican economic policy is hollowing out the middle class. The costs of housing, health care, and education have exploded while wages are mostly flat — and the only substantial gains in wealth and income have accrued to those who can afford to rewrite the rules in their favor.

Watching the Iowa caucus campaign unfold for the past year, I’ve been impressed by many of the candidates in the race. Warren rises above the field, however, because she understands the scale of the challenges facing our nation and she knows how to fix them.

Our challenges didn’t start with Trump, and they won’t end after he leaves office.

Warren understands Trump is a symptom of a broken system, not the cause of it. To prevent another demagogue like Trump from being elected, we must repair our broken democracy, end the corruption of Washington, and rebuild America’s middle class bigger and more inclusive than ever before.

These are not small challenges. They are big challenges requiring, in her words, “Big, structural change.” And Warren knows better than anybody else in this race that talking about change isn’t enough. She took on Wall Street’s lobbyists in Washington and beat them when she led the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bureau protects everyday people like you and me from predatory loans. Her fight was tough. Nevertheless, she persisted. And that’s why Warren scares the bejesus out of the lobbyists, billionaires, and big banks.

She knows that healing our democracy and rebuilding our economic foundation starts by cleaning up Washington. Her first legislative priority will be the largest anti-corruption legislation since Watergate. President Warren will end lobbying as we know it, get corporate money out of politics, and end the systematic use of voter suppression that disenfranchises people of color.

Our challenges didn’t start with Trump, and they won’t end after he leaves office. It will take a generation to heal the division he has sewn among neighbors, restore the middle class, and to repair Trump’s damage to our global leadership and confidence in our government.

There have always been moments in American history that demanded big, structural change. This is one of them. Once again, America needs a president with broad vision and deep conviction. Warren is that leader, and I hope you’ll join me in committing to caucus for her. You can learn more about her vision, take a selfie, and get involved at today’s 3:45 p.m. IMU town hall.

State Sen. Zach Wahls, D-Coralville