Elizabeth Warren was doing Tuesday what Elizabeth Warren usually does: sticking up for the little guy.
The populist Democratic senator from Massachusetts was in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, hosting an event to push Wal-Mart to raise wages and improve working conditions. “No one in this country should work full time and still live in poverty,” she said, wearing a green wristband to show solidarity with Wal-Mart workers. “Today a person can work full time, and a momma and a baby on a full-time minimum job cannot keep themselves out of poverty — and that’s wrong.”
A few hours earlier, Warren, joined by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, fired off letters to 16 financial institutions demanding more information about how they’re protecting consumers from fraud and identity theft. Later in the day, she cast her vote against the oil-and-gas interests backing the Keystone XL pipeline.
This would seem to be Warren’s moment. Exit polls in the midterm elections showed that 63 percent of voters thought the economy favors the wealthy, while only 32 percent said the economy is fair to most Americans. Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, has made a leadership position for Warren. Presidential rumors persist, though she shows no signs of running.
Warren’s populism is appealing — not fiery or vengeful but compassionate and grounded in fairness. She also has the virtue of being correct: People don’t feel improvement in the economy because the gains haven’t been shared evenly, income inequality has widened and wages haven’t increased along with stock prices and corporate profits.
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