From a Shuttered Daycare, Elizabeth Warren Makes a Passionate Case for Affordable Childcare

“It’s time to recognize that childcare is part of the basic infrastructure of this nation.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who was once a favorite to win her party’s nomination, used her speech in support of Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday night to highlight a signature issue: childcare.

Noting that families have taken “one gut punch after another” as a result of the pandemic, Warren spoke from the Springfield Early Childhood Education Center, a pre-K and kindergarten facility in Springfield, Mass., which has been closed since March. Framed by self-portraits drawn by children, Warren tied economic issues to childcare, a focus of hers throughout the primary, as documented by my colleague Kara Voght last year.

“Childcare was already hard to find before the pandemic,” she said. “And now, parents are stuck—no idea when schools can safely reopen and even fewer childcare options.” Warren shared her own story with childcare struggles, saying that she almost had to give up a dream job because she lacked childcare, until a family member stepped in to help. “I get to be here tonight because of my Aunt Bee,” she said. “I learned a fundamental truth: Nobody makes it on their own.”

Warren said Biden and Harris have plans for universal preschool, affordable childcare for all, and higher wages for childcare workers. And she used the opportunity to liken childcare to what most would consider more traditional forms of infrastructure.

“We build infrastructure like roads, bridges, and communications systems so that people can work,” Warren said. “That infrastructure helps us all because it keeps our economy going. It’s time to recognize that childcare is part of the basic infrastructure of this nation—it’s infrastructure for families.”

Her optimism about Biden and Harris stood in stark contrast to her criticism of Trump: His “ignorance and incompetence have always been a danger to our country,” and COVID-19 was his biggest test and “he failed miserably.” She also slammed the “Republicans who enable him,” and implored voters to “hold them all accountable” on November 3.

Warren and Biden haven’t always been on the best of terms. As noted by the Associated Press in July, Biden had accused Warren of harboring an “angry, unyielding viewpoint,” and Warren had said Biden was “naive” for thinking he could work with Republicans. She’d also criticized him for, as she said, “repeating Republican talking points and by dusting off the points of view of the giant insurance companies and the giant drug companies who don’t want to see any change in the law that will bite into their profits.”

But the two have become more close of late, with Biden tracking more toward Warren’s point of view on economic matters. The AP noted that Biden has adopted Warren plans on personal bankruptcy, expanding Social Security benefits, and canceling student-loan debt. She was also on the short list for Biden’s vice president and had become a “fund-raising powerhouse” for Biden’s campaign, according to the Boston Globe.

“We stay in this fight so that when our children and our grandchildren ask what we did during this dark chapter in our nation’s history,” she said, “we will be able to look them squarely in the eye and say: We organized, we persisted, and we changed America.”

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