COLUMBIA, S.C. — Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Saturday made a case that her ability to elevate ideas like a wealth tax has made her presidential campaign worthwhile, even though there are few prospects for wins in the immediate future.
“A year ago, nobody thought a wealth tax was even possible. Most people didn’t know what it was,” Warren told reporters here after talking to volunteers at a campaign office. “Now we talk about it, and people cheer, and we see a change.”
She also reflected on how her presidential campaign connects to her earlier career as an academic. “This is a culmination of a lifetime of work,” Warren said. “Instead of just having ideas that kind of stay on the academic side of the house, I actually get out to fight for a living.”
When pressed by a reporter if she can continue loving the campaign without winning, Warren said: “I think that we are. This is winning.”
Warren rarely offers such introspection on the campaign trail.
Her candidacy faces a major test on Tuesday, when 14 states, including her home state of Massachusetts, vote. Her campaign has argued that she is in a strong position to win a lot of delegates even if she does not win a state. But should she fail, it will become difficult to make a case for her staying in the race.
Warren was asked about her prospects in Massachusetts, where she’s polling about evenly with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “Massachusetts is a very progressive state and progressive ideas are very popular, and I’m sure that’s why Bernie is campaigning there,” Warren said. “I will always be deeply grateful to the voters of Massachusetts who have started me on this path,” she said, deflecting when a reporter pressed her on whether her home state, which votes on Tuesday, is a must-win.
When asked if she might forge an alliance with Sanders, she said they have been friends for a long time. But Warren also said a woman, who reportedly signed a nondisclosure agreement barring her from discussing racial discrimination while working for Sanders’s campaign and a related nonprofit, should be released from the agreement.
The Associated Press reported that the woman signed the document as part of a deal after she was fired from her job at the nonprofit, Our Revolution, because she complained about how she and other African Americans were treated.
She said her views on non-disclosure agreements "to cover up women’s stories are pretty clear,” adding that she does not believe women — or men — should be required to honor legal agreements to keep discrimination or harassment quiet.
Warren’s campaign staffers are required to sign nondisclosure agreements, but there is an exception for harassment, said Kristen Orthman, her campaign spokeswoman, in a statement. “Warren for President has a commonly used non-disclosure agreement that explicitly carves out sexual harassment as an exception,” Orthman said in the statement. “Elizabeth and Warren for President believe strongly that people should be able to speak publicly about workplace harassment or assault.”