Midway through Elizabeth Warren’s stump speech these days, her fans start jumping from their seats like pistons, firing with cheers and applause each time she rattles off another new policy punchline.
“Here’s a good one,” the senator (D-Mass.) said last week at a community-college gym filled with about 1,700 people. It was a plan to impose new ethics rules on Supreme Court justices. “I really could do this all night long. But let me do — let me do just one more.”
She did a dozen more, each greeted with an ovation: A law to force the release of politicians’ tax returns. A wealth tax on those worth more than $50 million. New rules to limit company size. And on and on.
Six months after launching her candidacy amid blundering apologies for her longtime claims of Native American ancestry and nagging questions about whether she could compete on a national stage, Warren is experiencing something unusual in the crowded Democratic field: momentum.
It is not showing up in national polls, which have remained largely steady with Warren in the single digits, far behind former vice president Joe Biden.
But energized crowds have been flocking to her events in early-voting states. Her nonstop stream of policy positions, which add up to what would be a restructuring of American capitalism, has helped shape the broader debate.