July 18, 2019

Elizabeth Warren, the Policy Wonk

“It was an off-the-cuff remark that turned into a catchphrase and a campaign T-shirt. Now, it’s a Time magazine cover: “I have a plan for that.” Elizabeth Warren’s reputation as the Democratic Party’s resident wonk is well earned. The Massachusetts senator was churning out ambitious policy proposals even before she became the first big-name challenger to enter the 2020 race. Since then, she’s rolled out one plan after another on issues big and small, from wiping out student debt to improving the living conditions of military families renting homes on U.S. bases. Her latest came just this week: a $100 billion plan to address the nation’s opioid crisis.

Warren isn’t the first presidential hopeful with a bounty of white papers, nor is she the only 2020 candidate who has made policy central to her pitch. Bernie Sanders paints in broad brushstrokes when he rails against the status quo, but the Vermont senator’s “Medicare for All” legislation lies at the heart of his campaign. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker tends to offer soaring rhetoric on the stump, but he rolled out a creative “baby bond” plan early to address the nation’s racial wealth gap and more recently proposed creating a national gun license program. Even California Sen. Kamala Harris and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, neither of whom have reputations as policy heavyweights, have gotten specific of late on issues like guns and climate change, respectively. There are plenty more policy ideas toward the bottom of the polls too. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has the most detailed climate plan of anyone running, and businessman Andrew Yang’s platform runs the gamut from universal basic income to getting rid of the penny.”

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