A frail figure with a combative speech, the Progressive White House candidate Elizabeth Warren rose to the third place of the Democratic nomination contest with a program already built that seduces the small crowds of her campaign meetings.
“I have a project for it”: on a campus in Fairfax, Virginia, his phrase already became a mantra campaign is greeted by the applause of a few hundred supporters.
Fight against gaping inequalities, help the middle class, break monopolies, protect the right to abortion … The expression reflects the concrete proposals it has already published, unlike the other 20 candidates of the Democratic camp .
“She has the most detailed program,” said Cheryl Schoenberg, who came to see her with her husband and their five-year-olds. “I want someone who inspires us, (…) and I want my daughters to see this woman, an excellent model for them”.
In person, the senator appears much less rigid than the image given on television.
“Let’s go far, let’s fight hard, we’ll win!”: In a cry resumed by the public, the senator in bright red jacket concludes a speech that plunges into its roots to explain what she describes as the “fight” of his life .
- – New blood –
Born into a modest family in central Oklahoma, she suddenly discovers the cruel economic uncertainty when her father, the only family wage earner, suffers a heart attack.
But his mother manages to find a job paid at the minimum wage, saving the family from poverty.
Except that today, the same salary could no longer suffice, and that the slope is even steeper for minorities, deplores the almost seventies (70 years in June), before the attentive assistance to Fairfax.
Married for the first time at 19, she gives up studies.
As a young mother, she can get her foot in the door with affordable evening schools. Until becoming a teacher for children with disabilities, then law professor at Harvard, then senator in 2013 … then a candidate for the White House, she says under applause.
But studies are now costing a fortune in the United States, she regrets, explaining why she proposes to cancel part of student debts and establish a network of nursery and affordable nursery.
To finance her measures, Elizabeth Warren proposes a tax on very large fortunes, denouncing “a system that works wonders for those who have money but not for all the others”.
Republican until the 1990s, she says was not militant at the time, before deciding to leave the party when he felt he was getting too close to Wall Street.
Specializing in bankruptcy matters, she warned of the crisis long before the crash of 2008, then was called to Congress to oversee the implementation of the financial sector bailout plan before inspiring President Barack Obama to establish a bank user protection agency.
First big name to enter the race for the Democratic nomination, she is now in third place in the polls.
At 8% on average, she remains far behind the first two: centrist Joe Biden (39%) and independent Senator Bernie Sanders (16%).
But on the Fairfax campus, Democrats looking for change see her, despite her age, as an “exciting” alternative to the two veterans of politics hoping to beat Republican Donald Trump in November 2020.
“We need new blood,” says Leonard Barrett, 28, an employee of a public school network in Virginia.
- – Polemic –
Because she has already woven one of the most developed networks in the first states that will vote in the Democratic primary and it “guides the debate” Democrat with its proposals, Elizabeth Warren has its chances, according to Robert Boatright, professor at Clark University, Massachusetts where Elizabeth Warren lives.
“But it has a negative baggage,” he said in reference to the controversy over the Amerindian origins she has long claimed, attracting criticism and raising doubts about this legacy very diluted in its genetic heritage.
Donald Trump does not care, nicknamed “Pocahontas”, which leaves some Democrats fear that it is too vulnerable in a duel with the billionaire.
Fairfax student Monet Ballard, 20, admits to being scalded by this controversy, but she appreciated the senator’s public apology.
“The question of nicknames will arise more from the extreme right because they love to insult,” she says. “But honestly, everyone makes mistakes and she took hers.”