Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has won the endorsement of the Des Moines Register’s editorial board, a little over a week away from the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. The recognition from the state’s largest newspaper is major win in a crowded race, and sends a strong message to likely caucusgoers, many of whom remain undecided.
The Register’s editorial board says Warren is the candidate to address decades of wealth inequality, that she’ll treat access to healthcare as a human right, and will combat climate change. The board, which operates independently of the newspaper’s newsroom, called Warren “tough and compassionate” and says she is the right candidate in the crowded field to move the country “in the right direction”.
Warren has faced criticism from the left and the right as she has put forward plans to overhaul a government she sees as corrupt, to level a two cent wealth tax on the nation’s wealthy individuals to vastly expand the federal social safety net, and her $20.5 trillion dollar plan to transition the country to Medicare for All and do away with private health insurance in the process.
“She says corporations should have less Washington influence, children should be protected from gun violence, child care should be affordable, immigrants deserve compassion, mass incarceration should end and the wealthy should pay more in taxes,” the endorsement reads in part. “Those ideas are not radical. They are right.”
Warren spoke to reporters at West Middle School in Muscatine, where she held an event just before the endorsement was announced.
“I just heard and I’m delighted. It really means a lot to me,” she said. “I’m very happy.”
The event in Muscatine was her first public stop in Iowa of the day, after leaving Washington, D.C. following the day’s impeachment trial hearings. She gave an abbreviated version of her stump speech to about 100 people and took questions from the audience. Add the end of the event, she candidly asked likely caucusgoers to take up her fight for “big structural change”, and to commit to caucus for her on February 3.
“We have to decide whether to give in to the fear or whether to fight back. Me, I’m fighting back. That’s why I’m in this!” she said as the crowd applauded and cheered. “I’m fighting back! I’m fighting back because we are at our best as a nation when we fight back.”
With a little over a week left until caucus night, Warren reminded the crowd of the responsibility Iowans have as the first in the nation state. She placed this election within a timeline of pivotal moments in the nation’s history.
“We fought back against a king in order to build this country. We fought back against slavery in order to preserve this country. We fought back against a Great Depression in order to rebuild this country. We fought back against fascism in order to protect this country,” Warren said. “We are at our best when we take on big problems and when we fight back.”
The editorial board endorsement comes as polling shows a majority of likely Democratic caucusgoers could still be persuaded to pick another candidate.
The announcement is a boost for Warren’s candidacy, and comes on the same day that a New York Times / Siena College poll shows Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is leading in the state, with 25 percent of the vote, a clear lead outside the margin of error in a tight and volatile race.
The Real Clear Politics Iowa polling average shows former Vice President Joe Biden leading overall at 20 points, followed by Sanders at 19.3, former South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 16.8 and Warren at 16.3 points, and then Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar at 8.3 and entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 3.5.