NEW YORK – Late. Elizabeth Warren paid tribute to the political power of female-led organization in a speech Monday night calling on the deadly fire of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory to claim that revolt can lead to positive change – and to make the case for her own presidential ambitions.
Warren has long faced doubts from some Democratic leaders and voters who are wondering if she could defeat President Trump, because of her outspoken liberal message and voters' reluctance to embrace a woman as president. Monday's speech, and the large crowd it attracted, was in part an attempt to dispel such doubts by claiming that liberal women have won major changes in the past.
"I wanted to give this speech here – but not because of the arc behind me or the president this square is named for," Warren said, reading from a Washington Square Park teleprompter, a neighborhood where the Triangle fire killed more than 140 workers, including Many young immigrant women.
"We are not here today because of famous arches or famous men," she said. "We are not actually here because of men at all – we are here because of some hard-working women. "
The comments were a more direct nod to gender than most of her public comments to date, which usually focus on how powerful interests have tilted the country's government against elites.
The event, which the campaign said attracted more than 20,000 and was easily among her largest crowd so far, had been heavily promoted by the Warren campaign over the previous days, and it came as the campaign enters a new phase where voters will be rarer and the field decreases, and as Warren looks for new ways to show off his speed.
She has begun to hold large rally-style events in an effort to show that she enjoys enthusiastic grassroots support from the party base. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), The second liberal supporter of the race, made a mass rally as part of his 2016 campaign and has also begun hosting major events in recent weeks. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads the polls, has so far cut short appearances.
At one point in his speech on Monday, when Warren said that the rich and powerful have "nurtured the very possibility" but that "we have the power to fix it," the audience was interrupted with songs of "Warren! Warren! "
Still, as she steadily rises in the general elections, questions have remained among centrists whether she offers an agenda that is too liberal for the country or too polarizing to win a general election. She has spent much of the past few months trying to fight that perception and emphasize her invisible choice and her potentially broad appeal.
About an hour before Warren took the stage, a little rain began to fall. Still, people continued to pour into Washingon Square Park and cover "I am a WARREN Democrat" signs under their umbrellas. After a short while, the rain fell, and speakers pumped up the audience with songs of “Dream big! Fight hard! "
In his speech, Warren compared himself to Frances Perkins, who, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt's secretary of labor, was the first female member of the United States government. Perkins was not an elected official but was seen as a very influential and effective public figure.
"What got a woman – a very tenacious woman – with the support of millions of people across the country? Great structural change," Warren said, invoking one of her own campaign slogans. "A woman and millions of people to back her up."
She credited Perkins, a longtime labor activist, with pushing for large workers' protection in New York in the wake of the triangle fire and helping to start Social Security, unemployment insurance, minimum wages and child labor laws. a podium built from the barn of Perkins homestead.
Focusing on Perkins, Warren sought to tie her campaign to the New Deal and an era of vigorous liberal achievement, and she cited Perkin's methods for strengthening her view on the best way to change. "She worked the political system relentlessly from the inside, while a sustained movement exerted pressure from the outside," Warr said
The Massachusetts senator criticized Trump as "meat corruption" but did not reside strongly on the president. She focused on positioning herself as different from political leaders who have previously chosen voters on changes to simply fail to deliver, and said she is not seeking money from powerful individuals or large corporations.
"Americans don't agree with many things, but we don't want each other's houses burned by fires," Warren said. “We don't want each other's children murdered in school. We do not want each other's families to go bankrupt by medical bills. What we want is for our government to do something. "
While Warren was speaking in New York, several other Democratic candidates appeared on Monday at an event in Galivants Ferry, SC. Some of the hopefuls voiced their strengths, but Biden played his longstanding ties with South Carolina, which showed why 43 percent of Palmetto State respondents supported him in a new survey from CBS.
Late Senator Fritz Hollings, a popular South Carolina Democrat, "burned me to the dance," Biden recounted. When Biden's first wife and daughter were killed in a car accident in 1972 shortly after his election in the Senate, he told the crowd, he was considering leaving before he was even turned in. It was Hollings who persuaded Biden to come to Washington, saying that his wife had "worked as the devil to get you here."
The crowd gave Biden a standing ovation. Nearly two-thirds of South Carolina Democrats are African-Americans, and Biden proclaimed himself the best person to counter Trump's racially-oriented rhetoric, which he described as "dealing with some of the ugliest forces."
On Sunday, Biden spoke at the 56th anniversary of the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., Which killed four black girls and galvanized civil rights. On Monday, he described his campaign as a continuation of that fight.
"There can be no realization of the American dream without continuing to struggle with the sin of original slavery," he said. “We all now realize that violence does not live in the past. If you give it oxygen, it will come back. "
Warren's speech in New York also focused on major progressive causes, in her case the struggle for women's and workers' rights. Her speech came hours after she released a comprehensive anti-corruption plan aimed at dramatically limiting the influence of former federal legislators and lobbyists while increasing workers' protection.
Among the nearly 100 proposed changes to the proposal, lobbyists would be banned from all campaign fundraising activities – including "bundling" of contributions from other donors – and campaigns could not receive "intangible benefits", such as opposition research, from foreign governments.
Warren campaign also received an increase Monday with support from the Working Families Party, a liberal group that approved Sanders' effort in 2016. On Monday night, Maurice Mitchell, the National Director of the Working Families Party, introduced Warren before speaking in Washington Square Park.
"Repeat for Me: Power! People power! "Said Mitchell. "Now louder so they can hear you in Mar-a-Lago!"
Linskey and Wang reported from New York, and Wootson reported from South Carolina.