Although Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren keeps rejecting the idea of a Democratic presidential run, that hasn't stopped liberals from trying to draft the progressive firebrand. The liberal advocacy group MoveOn is leading the push, attracting more than 200,000 signatures. MoveOn's executive director, Anna Galland, a Brown University alum, took part in an email interview to discuss the effort.
Why did MoveOn launch a campaign encouraging Elizabeth Warren to run for president?
Because MoveOn members believe our country would be better off if Elizabeth Warren were to enter the presidential race. We held a vote of the nationwide MoveOn membership about whether we should launch our Run Warren Run effort -- and the outcome was 81.3 percent in favor.
Our members love Elizabeth Warren because she's uniquely suited to take on some of the toughest challenges our country faces: income inequality, a skewed playing field, the middle class and working people taking it on the chin. She’s proven she’ll stand up to lobbyists and corporate interests, and fight to give the rest of us a fighting chance. That’s what we need right now, and it’s why we are intent on showing her she has the support she needs to run for president and win.
How would you describe the response?
The response to this campaign has been overwhelming. There was an intense amount of agreement among MoveOn members that we should encourage Senator Warren to enter the race, and we've seen the continued impact Senator Warren’s leadership has on daily conversations around the most pressing issues facing our country. (Just this week, her effort to defeat the nomination of Antonio Weiss, a Wall Street banker, to a key Treasury position, was successful -- with the support of MoveOn members and other grassroots progressives.)
In just a few weeks, more than 225,000 Americans have gone to RunWarrenRun.org and signed up to join the effort -- a grassroots army ready to convince Senator Warren to run for president and stand behind her when she does.
What about the impact? Senator Warren keeps saying she’s not running ….
We take her at her word. If she were already running, there would be no need to run a campaign to draft her into the race. We’re out there building grassroots support every day to encourage her to change her mind.
Remember, when she decided to run for Senate in Massachusetts, it was after a draft campaign that sought to persuade her to run. We believe that if we can demonstrate there is a big enough groundswell of enthusiasm for her to run, we can persuade her to enter the race.
The Internet has changed a lot in the last 10 years. How has MoveOn changed over that time?
MoveOn members continue to lead in embracing new technologies and harnessing the power of the Internet for grassroots organizing and issue and electoral campaigns. Recently, we employed new state-of-the-art technology to make 6.76 million volunteer-to-voter calls in support of MoveOn-endorsed progressive candidates in the 2014 midterm elections. Each month, thousands of new petitions are created by grassroots progressives on the MoveOn Petitions campaigning platform. We're also working with nearly 500 progressive partner organizations to use our online campaigning platform to support important battles, like challenging Citizens United, standing up for high school students facing censorship, fighting fracking, calling for diplomacy, demanding racial justice, and more.
So some of our tools and tactics have changed -- we can no longer just rely on one central online petition -- but the core of our work, using technology to help get regular people's voices to be heard and to be powerful in our democracy, remains very much the same.
With Republicans have gained control of the Senate, how is MoveOn focusing his efforts?
MoveOn is dedicated to advancing progressive causes on local, state, and federal levels -- and that includes holding elected officials in Congress accountable for their stances on important issues. We’ll continue to engage in both issue-based and electoral work, and we’re committed to lifting up the voices of our 8 million members on issues that matter to them. From fighting to protect and expand Social Security, to calling for diplomacy instead of using force as anything but a last resort, to reining in Wall Street’s corrupt influence in politics, to fighting the Keystone XL pipeline, MoveOn members and our allies across the country are energized and ready to fight for our shared values.
There’s no question the November elections were a setback -- but there are so many encouraging long-term trends too: progress on marriage equality sweeping the country, marijuana reforms that are reducing racial disparities in the criminal justice system, minimum wage hikes in cities and states around the country. And the grassroots activism has been inspiring too -- we saw the largest climate march in recent history last fall, the #BlackLivesMatter movement is responding to police violence, a new generation of feminists is fighting for women's reproductive freedom, and there's a growing national consensus that it’s time to do more about economic inequality and a system rigged in favor of the powerful few.
MoveOn members -- including over 20,000 members in Rhode Island! -- are joining and participating in all of those fights. And any MoveOn member who wants to organize other MoveOn members on an important issue, whether it’s a local school board decision or an important national debate, can use our MoveOn Petitions campaigning platform -- at petitions.moveon.org -- to do so.