The Meaning of Elizabeth Warren’s Presidential Interest for Muslim Americans
By Yousuf Ali
On December 31, 2018, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced her formation of an exploratory committee to run for president in 2020. Candidates often do this as a precursor to announcing their actual run and use the public reaction to gauge their chances in the actual race.
Warren framed her actions as an attempt to solve corruption in the United States and the role of big money in politics. She also brought up her own personal journey coming from a working-class background and related that to the struggles of ordinary Americans.
Consequently, her political opponents both in her party and outside of it have intensified their attacks against her.
For example, according to CNN, Ronna McDaniel referred to her as “another extreme far-left obstructionist and a total fraud”.
Furthermore, critics within her own party question her own viability claiming that she is too Liberal to win. In addition to these general prospects and concerns for the country, her bid has serious implications for Muslims in the United States as well.
To begin, American Muslim benefit from reform and transparency in the United States’ political system as it would give them more opportunity to establish themselves rather than having to deal with the major institutional roadblocks which plague the society.
Additionally, thankfully she has been a consistent opponent attacks against Muslims’ rights including Trump’s infamous Muslim Ban. This is in line with the generality of her political party which has opposed the president’s fascistic tendencies.
She has also been on the receiving end of his racism as well with his frequent degrading references to her as “Pocahontas”. This is something all people of conscience should oppose.
In addition to the opposition to the anti-Muslim domestic agenda of the President, she has thankfully distinguished herself from many of her Democratic colleagues on other issues that are important to Muslims.
When it comes to the issue of Palestine, Warren has proved herself markedly better than many of her Democratic colleagues. According to Haaretz, Warren opposed legislation by her colleagues which would make the BDS movement illegal and endanger freedom of expression.
In a country in which politicians bend over backward to prove how pro-Israel they are, this is a remarkable position to take. Yes, it is true that she previously supported Israeli attacks on Gaza, and this was wrong.
At the same time, we should judge her by her most recent positions in which she has opposed the oppression carried out by Israel. Her presidency would open up significant potential for a more just American policy on the issue. Support of her combined with regular pressure from those in support of Palestinian rights has the potential to make her even more sympathetic.
Elizabeth Warren is the first notable candidate to take a formal step towards contesting the presidency.
Being from the progressive part of the Democratic Party, she has the potential to change the discourse and policies of this country for the better. General concern for the welfare of people is a good reason for Muslims to react positively towards her aspirations.
Additionally, she has proved herself to be an ally of Muslims in the US against an administration which consistently attacks them. Furthermore, as of late, she has proven herself remarkably receptive to the concerns of supporters of Palestinians who usually receive total opposition from politicians.
Furthermore, she penned an op-ed urging the U.S. to end its role of supporting Saudi crimes in Yemen.
While some may have concerns about her electability, there can be no doubt that her participation has huge potential in changing the public discourse in the United States for better.