15,000 turn out in Seattle at Elizabeth Warren’s largest rally to date

Aug 26, 2019, 12:17 PM | Updated: 2:06 pm
Elizabeth Warren...
Elizabeth Warren in Seattle. (Aaron Granillo, KIRO Radio)
(Aaron Granillo, KIRO Radio)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren ran onto a stage near the Seattle Center International Fountain Sunday, blasting Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.” The song foreshadowed much of the presidential candidate’s hour-long speech that focused on her campaign’s three pillars: Attacking corruption in government, rebuilding democracy, and “big structural change” in the economy.

“Today, a full-time minimum wage job in America will not keep a mama and a baby out of poverty,” Warren said. “That is wrong and that is why I am in this fight.”

Warren wove in personal stories about her humble upbringing in Oklahoma, and how she became a special needs teacher and a young mother before pursuing bankruptcy law.

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The 70-year-old Massachusetts Senator has been surging in popularity lately, running either second or third in most presidential polls. Her campaign said Sunday’s event was Warren’s largest rally to date. The staff estimated 15,000 attendees. When asked about the crowd size, Warren noted, “I just think it’s a sign that people are ready for change in Washington.”

The Senator’s opening remarks included a nod to Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who last week bowed out of the presidential race. Warren said the country owes Inslee a great deal of gratitude for pushing the climate agenda, and vowed to take on the issue if she becomes president.

“I’m going to put a moratorium in place. No new drilling, no new mining on any federal lands or off-shore,” Warren said.

Warren said the climate change debate is evidence of the corruption she promised to tackle head-on by ending “lobbying as we know it” and blocking “the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street.”

While she was short on specifics about many of her policy ideas, including Medicare For All, Warren went into most detail about her proposed wealth tax. The plan calls for a 2 percent tax on the 75,000 largest fortunes in this country, that includes families with $50 million or more in assets.

“First 50 million is free and clear, but your 50 millionth and first dollar you’ve got to pitch in 2 cents,” said Warren. “And 2 cents on every dollar after that.”

Warren claimed that would generate $2.75 trillion over the next decade, enough to cover childcare, pre-K, raise the wages of every preschool teacher, and provide college tuition for anybody who wants it.

While several polls found the plan has broad support, some analysts have doubts about its implementation. The New York Times cited the Tax Policy Center, which argued a number of factors could throw it off-course. At least one separate analysis of Warren’s tax found it would generate only 40 percent of what Warren claims.

The Senator all but avoided another one of her headline-grabbing proposals: Splitting up big tech companies. Standing only a few blocks from Amazon’s headquarters and engineering centers for Google and Facebook, Warren did not call out the companies by name.

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“The giant corporations have just gotten bigger and they just have so much power,” Warren said. “How about we get a president who’s got the courage to enforce the anti-trust laws?”

Warren’s proposal would appoint regulators to undo tech mergers, including Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, Facebook’s deals for Instagram and WhatsApp, and Google’s purchase of Waze.

Her speech wrapped up with three questions from the audience about protecting LGBT rights, addressing immigration, and perhaps the top concern among Democratic voters, defeating President Trump in 2020.

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15,000 turn out in Seattle at Elizabeth Warren’s largest rally to date