Sen. Elizabeth Warren said following Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate that the progressive movement cannot wait for a massive groundswell of support, arguing that more moderate candidates are missing the party’s energy.
“This is what leadership is about. We figure out what’s right and then we build a movement to get it done,” Warren told CNN after the debate. “That’s how we make change. You know if we just waited for hundreds of millions of people to jump on board, we wouldn’t be making any changes at all. This is our chance to make real change and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Alongside progressive primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren promoted her progressive brand of politics in a debate that highlighted notable ideological divides within the Democratic Party. In one exchange, Warren admonished former congressman John Delaney for his criticism of the policy proposals from progressive candidates.
“I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running to the President of the United States to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” she said in response to Delaney. “I don’t get it.”
When pressed after the debate on achieving her more ambitious policy proposals, Warren slammed “corruption in Washington,” positing that her time on the campaign trail has shown her broad support for a progressive approach.
“When we talk with people, for example, about the tax on billionaires, they are ready to support it. When they talk about cutting their kids student loan debt, man, they’re in,” she said. “Talk to people about what it’s like today on child care. How many mommas can’t finish their education, can’t take a job? How many daddies are saying ‘I can’t do this, we simply cannot get good care for our children?'”
Warren has found steady support built on her campaign’s continuous release of populist driven policies. A CNN poll released earlier this month found Warren made steep gains after the first round of Democratic debates.
“This is the point. This is what optimism is about,” Warren said of her campaign message. “Optimism is about knowing what’s broken, laying out a plan to fix it and building a movement to make it happen,” she said. “And we have the power.”