A friend of a friend is running for Congress in a district outside of Massachusetts. One big element of her campaign is that rich people and rich corporations should not have a large influence on American politics. She came to Boston to raise money at a private party in a 6,000 square-foot house that Zillow says is worth $3.5 million. Elizabeth Warren spoke in support of this candidate noting that she shared the goal of wanting every citizen to have equal power and not having politicians controlled by distant rich supporters. Neither politician addressed the apparent contradiction of coming to a different state to raise money from rich people whose interests may or may not align with those of the prospective Representative’s actual constituents.
The two women agreed on a range of issues. The state politician that they hate the most is some guy who “voted against equal pay” multiple times (this was in the state where the Congressional race is happening, not in Massachusetts). Free trade agreements are bad. President Obama is a godlike figure in most respects, but his support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is misguided. Previous trade agreements should be reevaluated and potentially repudiated. (Nobody explained how this was different from Donald Trump’s campaign promises.) One thing that was especially bad about the TPP is that some aspects of U.S. sovereignty would be compromised and handed over to a transnational bureaucracy (“offshoring of power”). (Nobody explained how opposing this was consistent with telling the Brits to stay in the EU.) In the opinion of these female politicians, what is key to their support is that voters care passionately about women’s rights, especially the right to an on-demand abortion without any conditions.
The audience applauded loudest for the following propositions: (1) breaking up big banks, and (2) protectionism.
There were a lot of lawyers present and they got Elizabeth Warren on the subject of approving Obama’s federal judge nominations. Warren riffed on the subject of how federal courts are super friendly to big corporations (this will come as news to Fortune 500 companies facing patent infringement lawsuits in Texas).
The candidates and the audience agreed that Black Lives Matter though as it happened the gathering did not include any black people.
Stylistically it was possible to see how a novice politician becomes a professional. Elizabeth Warren used the word “fight” in nearly every sentence; her young protégé used the word “fight” only about one third as much.
Private audience reaction to the talk was less enthusiastic than the public reaction. An attorney specializing in Asian-U.S. deals noted that the TPP would have little effect due to existing bilateral agreements already incorporating most of its provisions. He said that Senator Warren greatly overestimated American economic power. “It’s not 1945 anymore,” he said. “Singapore and Hong Kong are richer than we are; Taiwan and Korea will surpass us soon.”