“Vote Like Your Life Depends On It”: Elizabeth Warren On Protecting Roe, Expanding The Court & Losing Her Brother To COVID
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been laser-focused on reaching as many voters as possible over the last few months — but she’s been especially active in the final stretch before Election Day. As soon as it became clear that Vice President Joe Biden would become the Democratic nominee, Warren, who dropped out of the primary after Super Tuesday, not only became a prominent face of his campaign, but has also worked as a key policy advisor, particularly when it comes to helping shape plans for economic recovery.
In the last days of campaigning, Biden has relied on prominent surrogates, like the progressive Massachusetts senator and also former president Barack Obama, to help get out the vote. Warren spent this past weekend campaigning in the hotly contested state of New Hampshire; Hillary Clinton won there in 2016, but with a tight 0.4% margin, so it’s definitely still in play.
Over the weekend, we caught up with Warren for an exclusive interview as she was heading to yet another Biden event, and talked about everything from Amy Coney Barrett to her election-night plans.
You’re on the campaign trail. If you were face to face with an undecided voter right now, what would you tell them? What about someone who is still somehow thinking about sitting this one out?
“I’d say vote like your life depends on it, because it may. This is about access to healthcare, access to reproductive care, access to abortion, access to insurance that’s affordable even for people who have preexisting conditions. This is about the survival of our planet, this is about how we build a future not just for a handful of people, but how we build a future for everyone. It’s all on the line in this election. Make your voice heard.”
You fought really hard against Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation, but it couldn’t be stopped. But, say Democrats do take back the White House and flip the Senate: How and in what ways can they take some of this power from the Supreme Court and protect women and healthcare through the legislative process?
“Here’s how I think of it. Round 1 was fighting the theft of another Supreme Court seat. Round 2 is the election on November 3rd. And Round 3 is making the legislative decisions after the election that will protect women, protect people of color, protect Dreamers, protect everyone in our country — keep up the pressure on Congress. And so, in particular, we’ve relied on the courts to protect Roe v. Wade, but Congress can protect the rule of Roe as well. Three out of four Americans all across this country — and that includes Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — want Roe to stay the law of the land. When three out of four Americans want to see a law, then we ought to pass that in Congress and make it the law of this land regardless of what the Supreme Court says. We can do that.”
“Everything is on the table. It’s our responsibility to restore the integrity of the Supreme Court. We can’t have a court that is entirely captured by an extremist minority in this country.”
It's all on the line in this election. Make your voice heard.
Sen. elizabeth warren
I know this is a big question, but top line: What does the future of the progressive movement look like to you, under a Biden presidency and also under Trump?
“Trump is working as hard as he can to take away opportunities from tens of millions of people in this country. He has Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, who tries to divert public money into private schools. He has a director of the Environmental Protection Agency who is a former coal lobbyist and is making the climate crisis worse. He’s pushing tax cuts, again, for those at the top, and that means less money to invest in childcare, housing, infrastructure, for everyone else. So it’s going to be a really hard, uphill fight for progressives if Donald Trump hangs on to the White House.
“Joe Biden has made it clear that he wants [to see] an America of opportunity for everyone. He’s promised to support universal childcare, canceling student loan debt, and expanding Social Security and disability payments. He’s promised to invest $2 trillion in fighting climate change. And instead of trying to sow as much hate and division as humanly possible, Joe Biden wants to be a president to bring us together so that every child regardless of their race, their family economic circumstances, their religion, the neighborhood they were born in, has an opportunity to build a real future in this country. Progressives are going to be a powerful part of moving this country forward in a Biden administration.”
Your brother Don Reed passed away from COVID earlier this year, and I’m so sorry for your loss. How are you and your family doing?
“I still haven’t been able to be with my brothers. COVID has robbed us of the chance to be together in person at a time of family grief. And it’s not just my family. We’re still going to have a quarter of a million families around this country who have lost someone they love, and we have a president who just doesn’t seem to care, who takes no responsibility for himself but instead blames doctors, blames the military, blames testing for this terrible virus. We are eight months into this crisis and Donald Trump still has no plan to deal with it. That means there will be thousands and thousands more families that will go through what my family is going through, and that breaks my heart.”
Speaking of plans, there is reporting in Politico that you may be interested in being Joe Biden’s Treasury Secretary if he wins. I know you haven’t talked specifically about the position. Do you have any advice for Vice President Biden as he’s putting together a team to get this country out of the recession and steer the COVID recovery?
“So, we’re [super-close to] the election. And Joe Biden is rightly focused on winning, and I’m rightly focused on trying to help him. You have me right now on the highway in New Hampshire, headed to a get out the vote event. Everyone needs to vote, and then we need to make sure every vote gets counted.”
Finally, how will you keep yourself and your family from stressing out on Election Night? It could be a long one. Is it time to crack open a beer?
“[Laughs] Beer, popcorn, a good movie on TV for flipping back and forth between election results and something fun to watch — and a big old Golden Retriever.”