By Scott Sonner
RENO — Democrats running for president will have to do more than campaign on an anti-Trump message if they want to take back the White House in 2020, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Saturday.
“If your message is ‘not-Trump,’ it’s not going to work,” the Democratic presidential hopeful told about 500 supporters who packed a rally at a high school gymnasium in Reno. “Our job it to talk about our vision.”
The Massachusetts senator blasted President Donald Trump’s economic and environmental policies and touted her plan to invest $500 billion over the next 10 years to build, preserve and rehabilitate affordable housing units for low-income families. Warren said she would pay for it by returning the estate tax thresholds to where they were during President George W. Bush’s administration and imposing a new “wealth” tax on the nation’s 17,000 wealthiest families.
“Washington is working for the ultra, super-duper rich and until we change that we are going to stay on this path. This is our moment,” she told the cheering crowd.
Warren was making her second campaign stop this year in the early caucus state, which follows only New Hampshire and Iowa in the nominating process. More than half the crowd lined up to take selfies with her after she spoke.
Warren said that when she was growing up in Oklahoma and her mother had to get a part-time job to keep their family from losing its home, a minimum-wage job would support a family of three.
“Today in America, a minimum wage job will not pull mamma and a baby out of poverty. That is wrong,” she said.
“That change is not an accident. It’s a change that comes from decisions made in far-off Washington. It’s decisions based on what will increase the profits of giant, multinational corporations,” she said. “That’s why 2020 is so critically important … We need to make this country work for everyone.”
Warren said the current system works for “giant drug companies” but not for people filling prescriptions, and “works for giant oil companies that want to drill everywhere but not for the rest of us who see climate change bearing down.”
“In Washington, it’s a very controversial thing to say, but I believe in science,” she said.
She also said that legalizing marijuana nationally would be a great way to begin to remove racism from the U.S. justice system. Recreational use of up to an ounce of marijuana has been legal in Nevada since July 2017.
“African Americans and whites all use (marijuana) at about the same rates. But people of color are far more likely to be arrested,” she said. “We have criminalized too much behavior in America.”
“Race matters in our correctional system and until we acknowledge that, we cannot fix it,” she said, adding that she also would ban private prisons and restore the right of felons to vote after they’ve served their sentence.
Her speech Saturday came as Trump was addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual meeting in Las Vegas. Trump also was in Las Vegas the same day Warren spoke last June at the Nevada Democratic Party’s state convention in Reno.
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Christiana Purves said Saturday Warren’s pledges are insincere.
“Whether it’s advocating for higher taxes, government-run health care, the costly Green New Deal or falsifying her heritage, it’s clear Elizabeth Warren is focused more on appeasing her party and her own political ambitions than helping hard-working families across Nevada,” Purves said.