The New Republic - October 30, 2019

"This analysis mistakes Trump’s ascendance for a terrible fluke in an otherwise functional system, rather than the natural result of themost staggering economic inequalitysince the Great Depression coupled with increasingly blatant racist and xenophobic rhetoric from the right. While many liberals may long for politics to go “back to normal,” the fact remains that “normal”—while less constantly and ostentatiously lurid than the Trump era—was also horrific."

The phrase, while not an official campaign slogan, has become the most common and recognizable calling card for Warren supporters. Like any good meme, it began online, filtered onto the campaign’s Twitter account, into the candidate’s stump speeches, and onto handmade signs, reinforcing her formidable brand as the candidate who has a plan for everything.

At present, Warren’s website contains more than 50 relatively detailed policy plans—chances are, she does have a plan for that, whatever “that” may be. But as far as campaign taglines go, “She Has a Plan For That” is a disappointing entry that pinches at the nerve of reservation that some on the left have regarding Warren’s rise in popularity. It’s a technocratic rallying cry, one that romanticizes the idea of having ideas rather than celebrating any central ethos within the ideas themselves. What’s worse, it implicitly lulls its reader or listener into a false sense of security, assuring them that they needn’t be too critical or discerning, since someone has already done the work for them. And there is considerable work left to be done to bring any one of Warren’s litany of ideas to fruition.  

For a campaign slogan to be effective, it must tick a number of boxes. First, it has to offer a broad-strokes pitch about the candidate’s ideology or political approach. Next, it should respond to or preempt the alternative messages being offered to voters. Finally, it must situate the candidate as a part of a larger coalition or movement. “Make America Great Again,” the ubiquitous slogan of President Trump, succeeds in hitting all three of these points—with particular attention to ideological signaling. In four words, Trump stokes nostalgia and resentment in equal measure by combining a biting truth (that America is not, in fact, great) with a fantasy (that it ever was). In half that number, President Obama catalyzed optimism in the electorate with his 2008 dual slogans, “Hope” and “Change.” 

Far from providing a general vision of the future or clear pitch, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 slogan, “I’m With Her,” shifted the burden of selling the candidate from Clinton to the voters themselves. “I’m With Her” offered little more than the fact of a woman candidate and the vague sense of inevitability to her election (a musical number from Stephen Colbert’s “Democratic National Convention Late Show” special included the lyric “you must rejoice / there is no choice / she is your destiny”). 

“She Has a Plan For That” harkens back to the early months of the 2020 primary, during which Warren rather spectacularly outpaced her competitors in the area of policy development. In February, while many of her competitors were still waiting to announce or in the early stages of organizing a campaign staff, Warren released a plan for universal child care. A month later, still before Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, or Beto O’Rourke had officially entered the race, she announced a plan to invest $2 billion in affordable housing. By April, the campaign was in full plan-churning mode—breaking up big tech, universal free public college, student loan debt cancellation, debt relief for Puerto Rico, ending the opioid crisis—at a breakneck pace no other campaign could hope to match. ...
Read full article at The New Republic