The most exciting news of the election season so far: Elizabeth Warren joined Progressive Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Phoenix, Arizona for the Netroots Nation Conference this past weekend. The appearance of two high-powered Progressive champions was predicted to fan the growing bonfire of populism into an all-out inferno, completely transforming the political landscape for 2016. If the number of supporters who showed up is any indication, this is exactly what is happening. With 11,000 in attendance, Saturday evening’s rally was Sanders’ biggest yet.
And this was in a “red” state.
Elizabeth Warren delivered the keynote address that morning to an enthusiastic audience of 3,000 – many of whom wore t-shirts in support of Sanders. She began on an upbeat note, pointing out the progress that has been made over the past five years – including healthcare reform, marriage equality and the formation of a consumer protection agency that has forced banks to return $10 billion in ill-gotten gains to their victims. She then launched her criticism of Arizona’s SB 1070, calling it a “stupid law…it is racist, it is unconstitutional.”
Warren’s address affirmed the Progressive platform, including raising the minimum wage, strengthening Social Security, addressing climate change and Wall Street reform. “What it means to be a Progressive…these are the things that define what we’re fighting for,” said Warren, adding “Here’s the heart of it: we believe that the real strength of this country starts with people – not corporations.”
Warren, who has endorsed Sanders, has declined to run for Executive Office. However, she has not ruled out the possibility of becoming Sanders’ running mate.
The high point of the Netroots Nation Conference was Bernie Sanders’ fiery one hour speech that evening. Sanders opened with a no-holds-barred statement that laid it on the line in no uncertain terms:
We have a message tonight to the billionaire class – and that message is, you cannot have it all. You cannot have huge tax breaks when children…are going hungry. You cannot continue to ship out jobs to China when millions of Americans need work here. You cannot hide your billions in profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens when we have unmet needs in America that must be addressed…what we are saying to the billionaire class is, their greed has got to end – and we are going to end it for them.
Sanders continued: “What this campaign is about is pretty simple,” he said. “What it is saying is that our great country and our government belong to all of the people and not a handful of billionaires.”
This is the Progressive agenda in its most basic form. As both Sanders and Warren have said and continue to re-iterate, it is not a “liberal” agenda. It is the American agenda. Based on what we have seen in Phoenix this past weekend, it is an agenda for which the time has come.
Watch our commentary on how these two are leading a new political revolution: