Don Weilberg is a 79-year-old retired orthodontist who lives in Saunderstown. He was a member of the Westerly Democratic Committee, the state Democratic Committee in the 1970’s, and a George McGovern delegate to the 1972 Democratic presidential convention.
And on Saturday, he’ll be one of three Rhode Islanders – one of the 224 across the nation – who will host a house party to help inspire Massachusetts Senator and progressive champion Elizabeth Warren to run for president.
“Young people have become so disillusioned with politics,” Weilberg told me. “They have tuned out. They say there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans, and in many ways they are right.”
Weilberg said Warren can help reverse this apathy.
“Warren is a very different kind of politician,” he said. “She just doesn’t back down. She’s very strong for the middle class. That’s why she is galvanizing the country.”
Move On, Democracy for America and Ready for Warren are helping to organize some 224 house parties to entice Warren to run for president. Ian Donnis, RIPR’s political beat reporter, recently interviewed Anna Galland, executive director of Move On and a Brown University graduate, on why the grassroots organizing organization is focusing its efforts on Warren. She told him, in part:
…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…
Warren is America’s liberal superstar, her popularity increasing almost as sharply as the income inequality she’s made a reputation battling. She first electrified the liberal base in September, 2011 with her now legendary “you didn’t build that” speech. She went on to beat moderate Republican Scott Brown to win her Mass. Senate seat.
More recently, as a senator, she seemingly by herself defeated President Obama’s nomination for Secretary of Treasury. In a piece titled “Behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Treasury takedown: How the Massachusetts senator rallied the left and blindsided the White House”, Ben White writes:
“The game in Washington had changed … Elizabeth Warren, sometimes disregarded by the White House as a largely irrelevant nuisance, could no longer be ignored. Bolstered by grass roots groups eager for any anti-Wall Street crusade and a vibrant progressive media that hung on her every word, Warren succeeded in knocking out Weiss’ nomination.”
Warren isn’t the only progressive considering running for president; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is also keeping the option open. Meanwhile, ahead of the house parties this weekend, expected Democratic establishment candidate Hillary Clinton is sending signals she doesn’t see Warren as a possible competitor. According to Politico: “A Democrat familiar with Clinton’s thinking said: ‘She doesn’t feel under any pressure, and they see no primary challenge on the horizon. If you have the luxury of time, you take it.'”