The PPP Poll on Democrats’ 2020 preferences found that “Joe Biden leads the way for Democrats with 31% to 24% for Bernie Sanders, and 16% for Elizabeth Warren. They’re the only folks we tested with meaningful support for the nomination at this point.” Since Warren is the only one in that groups not eligible for Social Security, she’s at least the putative front-runner for the 2020 race against President Trump. That’s not bad entirely bad news for Democrats. Warren’s smart and passionate, and she’s a fiery speaker. Unfortunately, she’s also a jerk and more important, a bigot.
Warren has been on an anti-Trump rampage for months, and an anti-Wall Street rampage forever. She recently graced Facebook with another anti-business rant to her nearly 2.5 million followers. In it, she condemned Whitney Tilson, who runs Kase Capital, calling him a “hedge fund billionaire” who is “thrilled by Donald Trump’s economic team of Wall Street insiders.” The Massachusetts Senator wrote, “Tilson knows that, despite all the stunts and rhetoric, Donald Trump isn’t going to change the economic system…The next four years are going to be a bonanza for the Whitney Tilsons of the world.”
This gratuitous attack was pure bigotry. To bigots, what matters is what people are—blacks, whites, Jews, gays, men, women, Muslims, poor people, rich people, Democrats, Republicans. Also Trump voters, feminists, Christians, college students, bankers, and lawyers. Bigots assign unattractive, negative character traits to individuals based on neat categories they can be placed in, and their real beliefs, principles, and most important of all, acts don’t matter. Warren’s reference to “the Whitney Tilsons of the world” is the mark of a bigot. If you work on Wall Street, you are just like all the rest to her. Greedy. Corrupt. Bad.
The hateful attitude from Warren is especially unfair in Tilson’s case. He was one few financial executives who publicly opposed Trump and supported Hillary Clinton. He is a lifelong Democrat, and he helped start the terrific volunteer teacher program Teach for America; he doesn’t just sit around counting his money. (Warren, incidentally, is about as rich as he is.) Tilson was also one of the very few Wall Street executives who donated to Senator Warren’s campaign for the Senate. Tilson, like Warren, has supports tough regulations for his industry. “I’m a fan of Dodd-Frank,” he said in a recent interview. ” I think banking should be boring…I worry about Wall Street returning to being a casino.”
Tilson doesn’t understand why he was singled out for Warren’s bile. “I’ve donated money to her, attended her events, and did everything in my power to stop Donald Trump,” he told the New York Times. “In addition, I agree with her 100 percent that large swaths of the financial industry have run amok and prey on vulnerable Americans, and thus strong regulation, including a muscular Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is sorely needed,” he said.
He added, “Personally, I feel betrayed. In recent years, I’ve really stuck my neck out by very publicly supporting her, the C.F.P.B., and a tough regulatory approach to banks — none of which wins me many friends — and this is how she repays me.”
I can explain Warren’s attitude to him. She’s a bigot, just not the kind of bigot that progressive typically object to. It’s this kind of bigotry on both ends of the political spectrum, based on class, occupation, education and belief, that has made the vital role of civil civic discourse in our democracy dysfunctional.
Of course, some traditional forms of bigotry are also acceptable to many of Warren’s fans…this kind , for example…
But I digress.
In 1992, Tilson’s wife, Susan Blackman Tilson, was a student in a Harvard Law School class Warren taught. She’s a loyal Warren supporter, telling her old professor in a letter that she had been “cheering from the sidelines as you rose to national attention for your excellent work on behalf of consumers.”
Both Tilsons wrote to Senator Warren last week asking her to remove her unfair Facebook post. Warren had an aide email them, saying,
“She asked me to relay to you that she is removing the word ‘billionaire’ from the post, as you have indicated that is factually inaccurate. The senator has decided, however, not to remove the overall post.”