People in Iowa and across America feel it in their bones: Our democracy has been hijacked by the rich and powerful.
You can see it in these past three years of cruelty and criminality under Donald Trump — and in the preceding four decades of stagnant wages, rising costs and diminishing opportunity. The most powerful people in our society have used money and influence to make Washington work for them — and leave everyone else behind.
It’s corruption, pure and simple. I’m running for president to do something about it.
And here’s the good news: Around Iowa and around this country, Democrats, independents and Republicans are united in their desire to clean up corruption in Washington and build an economy with more growth, more opportunity and more freedom.
That’s our path to beat Donald Trump in 2020. We will beat the most corrupt president in American history by campaigning on the most aggressive anti-corruption platform since Watergate. We will beat a president who has enriched himself and his rich buddies by campaigning on big, structural changes that ensure the economy works for everyone.
Rebuilding the American middle class
For me, this is personal. I grew up in Oklahoma on the ragged edge of the middle class, and I devoted my career to figuring out why hard-working people go broke in the richest country in the world. I never in a million years thought I’d end up in politics, but when I saw how the system was rigged against working families, I got into the fight to help families like the one I grew up in.
Over the last year, I’ve held over 100 events in Iowa — from Orange City to Keokuk and Decorah to Pacific Junction. At every stop along the way, I’ve been talking about my plans: universal child care and high-quality early education; universal free college and student loan debt cancellation; expanded Social Security benefits; and Medicare for All so everyone gets the care they need and no one goes broke paying for it.
Each of these plans would be life-changing for millions of Iowans and Americans. Taken together, they represent the big, structural change we need to rebuild the middle class, help close the racial wealth gap, and ensure that no matter where you live or who you are, you have the opportunity to follow your dreams and fulfill your potential.
I believe in change and I know we can get it done. Why? Because we’ve done it before.
Even before 2008, when an out-of-control Wall Street crashed our economy and wrecked the lives of millions of Americans, I had an idea. We needed a consumer agency that would protect people when they got mortgages, credit cards or payday loans — just like existing federal watchdogs protect people when they buy toys or toasters.
After the crash, I went to Washington and talked to everybody I could about this idea. They all said the same two things: First, it’s a great idea; second, it’ll never happen and you shouldn’t even try. The big money and the big banks will fight you, they said. The Republicans will fight you — heck, even a bunch of the Democrats will fight you. You’ll never get this done.
I didn’t like that answer, so I fought anyway. And you know what? We got it done. President Obama supported my idea, signed it into law, and asked me to get it off the ground.
And less than a decade later, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has forced financial institutions to return $12 billion to 29 million people they cheated.
Here’s what I learned from that experience: You don’t get what you don’t fight for — and you have to be willing to stand up to the powerful interests that will do anything to block reform.
We’ll win this election by showing the American people that we can clean out Donald Trump’s corrupt Washington and deliver the big changes that actually affect our lives. That’s what I’m running on and that’s what I’ll do as president.
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This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Elizabeth Warren: Let's fight against corruption, build middle class