Elizabeth Warren may be newest face for Democratic party

By Kevin Criscione

Published: Sunday, December 11, 2011

Updated: Monday, December 12, 2011

Warren

MCT

Although the primaries to determine Sen. Scott Brown's (R-Mass.) opponent in the 2012 elections won't be held until September, a small group of liberal students at Tufts have already thrown themselves behind someone they say is worthy — Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren. 

Freshman Samuel Kelly said he has been following Warren's public career since before she even announced her candidacy, and is eager to bring his support to the Hill. 

"It was maybe three or four years ago that she was on [Real Time with Bill Maher] for the first time, and I was like ‘Wow, that lady is absolutely brilliant.' So I've kind of been following her ever since, and then when I found out I was coming to Tufts, and then that she was running for Senate, I just knew it was absolutely something I had to get involved with," Kelly said.

Senior Benjamin Badejo, who has been organizing the recent meetings for a group called Tufts Students for Elizabeth Warren, said he believes that Warren has the potential to bring much-needed change to the Democratic presence in the U.S. Senate.

"I think this country has always represented opportunity," Badejo said. "In the past several decades … it has become the case that we are not that beacon of opportunity that we used to be. I think … the Democratic Party and Elizabeth Warren in particular are really defending those values, and I think Elizabeth Warren is especially adept at articulating the reasons why the Democratic Party platform and specifically what she works on is in the interest of the majority of the American public."

Warren's career has spanned many fields, from law to academia. After teaching law for most of her life, she began working on a number of government-appointed committees related to bankruptcy and American financial security, including the FDIC Committee on Economic Inclusion and the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. She has become well-known for her unabashed liberalism and for advocating and aiding in the creation of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

In the 2012 Massachusetts Senate race, Warren is aiming to beat out Brown, who won over Democrat Martha Coakley in a 2010 special election to fill the seat held for 47 years by Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Badejo believes that Warren has the ability to bring back the same energy and spirit that characterized the Democratic Party during Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, especially as she will be able make a more effective push on political battles that voters think should have been fought differently, he said. 

"She seems, in a sense, to fill the void … that Barack Obama the candidate created when he became Barack Obama the president," Badejo said. "He's had a series of great policies and I think his contributions so far have not really been highlighted, but I think in terms of being able to tap into people's interest in a candidate who is very well-spoken and very seemingly up-front about their beliefs, Elizabeth Warren is filling that role."

Amanda Chuzi, a senior who supports Warren's campaign, agreed that one of Warren's key attributes is an ability to energize her followers.

"Just seeing her speak, you could tell that she inspires people almost like that," she said, snapping her fingers.

Warren's charisma and ability to relate to voters on a personal level is a political skill that Kelly said makes it easy to believe in her. Many modern Democrats lack these skills, according to Kelly.

"I just think, if you hear her speak, if you listen to her stance on the issues ... she's like the perfect Democratic politician," Kelly said. "She's brilliant, but she can also talk like a normal person instead of ... boring everyone out of their minds, which is sort of typical of Democratic politicians."

Chuzi believes that this accessibility gives her an edge over Brown.

"She really seems like someone who could go places," Chuzi said. "I think if anybody has the potential to beat him, it's her."

Badejo praised Warren's uncompromising attitude and strong convictions which he said could revitalize the Democratic Party in the Senate.

"If she's very confident that something is wrong, [she] will make that very clear," Badejo said. "[She] will not be willing to budge unnecessarily in the interest of moderation."

Freshman Justin Rheingold believes Warren upholds the values she preaches, unlike many other politicians.

"She has a grassroots following, but also, she doesn't take money from corporate interests like almost all the other senators do," he said. "Their campaigns are funded by so many big businesses, and she's fighting against those big businesses. I think that's so much a part of it — about how it's us, the little people out there, who are giving her campaign contributions and promoting her. That's how our politicians should be."

While admitting that the election is too far away to begin aggressively spreading Warren's message on campus, student supporters do plan on reaching out to other students as the election draws closer.

"We're very early in the campaign right now, so … we're kind of trying to figure out what [we should] be doing," Chuzi said. She added that when the time comes to actively campaign, they'll be ready — and that online social media would play a key role in their efforts.

"We're on a direct volunteer list from the volunteer coordinator, so like anytime they have anything [to send us] we can blast it out to people and put it on our Facebooks and put it on our Twitter."

Right now, though, the students are focused on spreading interest in Warren's campaign on the Hill.

"The most important thing we can do is just get people energized," Kelly said. "Most Tufts students would agree with her ideology. It's about getting out there and getting them energized [and] getting them to know about her positions," Kelly said.

Until the election, these students will keep fighting for who they believe is the best choice for Massachusetts. 

"I think she's just a fighter, and I think she's going to continue fighting for middle-class families because I think that it's really what she believes in and I don't think she's ever going to compromise her views," Kelly said.

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