In a New Year's Eve day address focused more on possibility than policy, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren told hundreds of supporters that the fight for the presidency in 2020 will be a defining moment in American history.
“I believe that when future generations of Americans look back on this time, they will celebrate us for choosing hope over fear, courage over timidity, dreams over cynicism,” Warren said to a cheering crowd in downtown Boston.
Warren’s speech came a year to the day after she launched her campaign for president. The venue was the Old South Meeting House, chosen for its significance in the American Revolution, where Ben Franklin was baptized and where the Boston Tea Party was conceived.
Striking on themes familiar to her supporters — the wealth gap, systemic racism, and the need to fight corruption in Washington — Warren framed the current moment among other key points in history: from the American Revolution, to the movement to abolish slavery, to the civil rights movement.
She said 2020 is a chance to rewrite the rules of power in this country, and she said future generations will be watching.
Warren also evoked the story of Phillis Wheatley, who was born in West Africa but shipped to New England by slave traders in 1761. Wheatley was a poet who eventually inspired George Washington and once sat in the pews of the Old South Meeting House. Warren quoted from a Wheatley poem to help acknowledge the struggles of modern society's inherent biases that she said Africans Americans and women still face.
"Imagine an America where the lived experience of women is reflected in committee rooms and corner offices," Warren said, "And yes, even that really nice oval-shaped office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."
That prompted one of several standing ovations and chants of "Warren! Warren! Warren!"
Warren supporter Larry Lodgen, a teacher from Marblehead, came to see the New Year’s Eve address. He said he’s optimistic about Warren’s chances in the upcoming primaries and caucuses.
“I’ve been knocking on doors in New Hampshire and there’s a lot of support there, so if she does well in Iowa and then in New Hampshire, I think it’ll be a strong message,” he said.
Asked if Warren has what it takes to take on Trump, Lodgen said he hopes so.
“His campaign has his base," he said, "and if we win back some of those states, like Wisconsin, she’s on her way."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.