By Gina Yarbrough and Danny R. Johnson
SAN DIEGO – While the country is being saturated with daily new revelations surrounding the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren (D- MA), rallied thousands of fans at a seaside San Diego park, focusing on a consistent winning message of non-impeachment issues resonating with thousands across the country.
Warren is on record calling for the impeachment of Trump, but she has chosen a strategy as in the October 4 event at Waterfront Park, to stay clear of talk about Ukraine, which have consumed cable news went unmentioned. Instead, Warren shared with the 5000 people present her vision on how she will bring structural change to overhaul government and the economy.
This was Warren’s first visit to San Diego since kicking off her presidential campaign earlier this year. She is currently in the lead in the Democratic race, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Sanders halted his campaign after suffering a heart attack while on the campaign trail last week. She told supporters that lobbyists’ influence in the U.S. government is a serious issue. One that she plans to rectify, if elected president.
“We have a government that works fabulously for giant drug companies. Not just for people trying to get a prescription filled,” Warren told the crowd. “We have a government that works great for people who want to invest in private prisons and private detention centers. But not for the people whose lives are destroyed and whose communities are torn apart.”
An advocate for climate change, Warren is one of the original supporters of the Green New Deal, a plan to launch a ten-year mobilization through 2030 to achieve net-zero domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
“Our country, our scientists and people generally are starting to get it about what is going on climate. They are starting to get it on what it means to be putting so much carbon into the air. They have the basic idea,” Warren said.
In the early 1990s, Warren said lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle, were working together in Washington to solve the “global warming” crisis that was affecting the planet. That effort came to a halt when big oil companies stepped in and began lobbying certain lawmakers in Congress.
“They made an investment decision. They decide to invest in politicians. They decide to invest in Washington,” Warren said.
Being consistently on message focusing on the core issues voters care about as it relates to them personally, is why Warren is on the top in the polls.
It was a sentiment many attendees of Warren’s rallies have echoed, cheering Warren for continuing to emphasize her policy plans over the most recent headlines. Her biggest applause lines came as she discussed her anti-corruption platform, one of the first proposals she released in her campaign. She has continued to roll out policies aimed at corruption, including a tax on major lobbying expenditures by corporations and trade groups.
“Let’s attack the corruption head-on,” Warren told the crowd, standing before a giant American flag. “Enough playing defense. I am ready to go on offense.”
Warren’s stump speech focused largely on her economic proposals, including a 2% annual wealth tax on those with fortunes over $50 million that has become a rallying cry for her supporters. Revenue from that tax, she said, would pay for universal child care and pre-K education, as well as a host of other social services.
Even though Warren does not like to discuss Trump in detail at her rallies…that’s not to say she hasn’t lobbied barrages of criticism of Trump’s policies. She was the first Democratic candidate to call for his impeachment this spring, after special counsel Robert S. Mueller III released his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. And on Twitter, she’s continued to react to recent news, including calling for the transcripts of conversations between the president and the leader of China, after CNN reported that Trump discussed her political prospects as well as those of former Vice President Biden in a July phone call.
The San Diego rally followed the formula of Warren campaign stops since the beginning of her run: a speech that starts with her Oklahoma upbringing — with extra emphasis this time on her brothers’ background in the armed forces in a nod to San Diego’s military ties — through her stutter-step path to becoming a law professor at Harvard, and then a brief rundown of her policies, a few audience questions, and then her famous selfie line.
But while the structure remains the same, the scale has become grander — a sign of Warren’s steady ascent in the polls. In last week’s UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, conducted for the Los Angeles Times, Warren had a significant lead in the Democratic presidential race in the state — the first choice of 29% of likely Democratic primary voters. She has seen similar polling gains in early-voting states such as Iowa and in national surveys.
With her polling numbers inching higher each week right before the crucial October 18 Democratic Debate, and with Sanders off the campaign trail due to health issues, political observes in both parties see Warren as the top contender to beat for now.