Elizabeth Warren’s Three Lessons For Campaigning

The senator-elect returns to professor mode in a speech.

Gretchen Ertl / Reuters

WASHINGTON — Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren took a victory lap on Tuesday night after her commanding victory in Massachusetts’ U.S. Senate race, laying out her advice for running a progressive campaign to an adoring crowd of liberal activists.

“I was up against a popular incumbent who had $10 million in the bank and a nifty pickup truck,” Warren told a supportive crowd of roughly 100 people at the annual Midwest Academy Awards, who greeted her with a standing ovation. “That’s a pretty formidable combination.”

How did she win? Warren, who has a background in academia, slipped back into professor mode to explain the lessons she learned during her “hard-fought” campaign.

3. 1. You can run a campaign on the issues.

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

“You don’t have to run it on personal attacks, because people out there are smart and they get it.”

4. 2. It’s important to explain the vision.

Stephan Savoia / AP

“We have to talk about how working families are getting slammed, how Washington is rigged to work for the big guys, how we can’t be a country of ‘I’ve got mine, the rest of you are on your own.’ The way we build the future is, we build that future by investing in that future, investing in education, investing in roads and bridges, investing in research, creating a future for ourselves, creating a future for our children, creating a future for our grandchildren. We build that together and we have to be willing to talk about that future, how it is a vision of practical economics but it is also a vision of values. It’s a question of what kind of a people we are and what kind of a country we are going to build, and we are out there to talk about that vision.”

5. 3. The importance of organizing.

Charles Krupa / AP

“In the last four days…volunteers in Massachusetts knocked on 600,000 doors. And on Election Day, we had more than 20,000 people who showed up just to volunteer, to drive people to the polls, to be there to be poll watchers. … That’s how democracy is supposed to work.”

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