At the third presidential primary debate in Houston, Texas, senator and 2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Warren also spoke about her stance on U.S. trade policy and how “our trade policy in America has been broken for decades.”
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Let’s go back to last night’s debate. This is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: So, our trade policy in America has been broken for decades. And it has been broken because it works for giant multinational corporations and not for much of anyone else. These are giant corporations that, shoot, if they can save a nickel by moving a job to a foreign country, they’ll do it in a heartbeat. And yet, for decades now, who’s been whispering in the ears of our trade negotiators? Who has shaped our trade policy? It’s been the giant corporations. It’s been their lobbyists and their executives.
The way we change our trade policy in America is, first, the procedures, who sits at the table. I want to negotiate trade with unions at the table. I want to negotiate it with small farmers at the table. I want to negotiate it with environmentalists at the table. I want to negotiate with human rights activists at the table.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And that was Elizabeth Warren on trade. And here’s Elizabeth Warren talking about Afghanistan.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: What we’re doing right now in Afghanistan is not helping the safety and security of the United States. It is not helping the safety and security of the world. It is not helping the safety and security of Afghanistan. We need to bring our troops home.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Rashad Robinson, your reaction to some of these moments in Elizabeth Warren at the debate last night?
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RASHAD ROBINSON: I mean, I think it’s deeply powerful that we have candidates on the stage willing to talk about corporate power, you know, on corporate media. I mean, a lot of why we had certain questions, if you look at the conversation earlier about the Jorge Ramos questions — right? — those are deeply also rooted in the fact of who gets to control the platforms that these debates are had on. We are already playing on a field, we’re already talking on a platform, that is controlled by a set of elites that don’t want the type of radical change that’s going to lift all boats.
And so, the fact that Elizabeth Warren is willing to go on these platforms, willing to talk about corporate power, willing to talk about how she will want these folks at the table — but it’s not simply about being at the table. It’s about fundamentally changing the table. And changing the table, once again, requires these candidates to articulate and be connected to how they’re going to work with, engage and empower movements to do so.
Part of why a school of white children can get shot up and no meaningful reform on guns happens, even though the vast majority of Americans want it, is because the movements on the right have made it possible for politicians to believe that they can’t make those type of changes, even if they believe it’s possible.
And so, what are we going to build on the left that is powerful enough? And how are our candidates going to be accountable to those movements and connected to those movements? Because only then do we turn the vision of the ideas, the vision of the polls, the vision of what we believe as possible into the actual reality. People drive the type of change that’s possible, not politicians alone.