Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the most prominent figure in the Democratic presidential race so far and she’s setting the tone for what she expects from her competitors.
Warren, who gave her first interview since announcing her presidential run on MSNBC Wednesday night, said that she believes her party needs to come together on the issue of campaign funding.
“Is this gonna be a Democratic primary that truly is a grassroots movement that is funded by the grassroots, that’s done by grassroots volunteers or is this gonna be something that is just one more plaything that billionaires can buy?” she posed.
Warren spoke out against both self-funding and political action committees:
“So I think this is a moment for all of the Democratic nominees as they come into the race to say as a Democratic party we are going to link arms and we’re going to say grassroots funding. No to the billionaires. No to the billionaires whether they are self-funding or whether they are funding PACs. We are the Democratic party and that’s the party of the people. That’s how we not only win elections, that’s how we build movements that make real change and that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to win, but then we’ve got to produce. And that’s only gonna happen if we’ve got a whole movement under way.”
Watch the video below:
Elizabeth Warren: 'No to the billionaires' pic.twitter.com/jcS9kXDOoY
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 3, 2019
Warren is already putting her money where her mouth is. According to CNBC, Warren’s team is closing the Elizabeth Warren Action Fun, a joint fundraising committee the Massachusetts senator used for her re-election campaign this year. The fund was highly beneficial for Warren in the midterms, raising over $4 million.
But a PAC-free grassroots funding message is popular with other potential candidates. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders ran his 2016 presidential campaign on the message of grassroots funding and may announce a run for 2020.
But Warren’s anti-billionaire message might hit some of the Democratic nominees personally. As Rachel Maddow pointed out in her interview Wednesday, billionaire businessmen Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg will possibly throw their hats in the 2020 run. According to CNBC, Bloomberg said he would self-fund his campaign with over $100 million.
But Warren doesn’t think that should be a Democratic tactic. “People should not be self-funding and they should not be funded from PACs from other billionaires,” she said.
“The primary is an opportunity to hear for the grassroots, to see what can build, to see what kind of energy is out there,” Warren continued. “Get out there, trust your message, trust what it is you’re fighting for and if someone else wants to fight for something different, trust them to fight out there and fight it. And then let’s see where grassroots America is.”