In the following prologue of her new book, “This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class” (Metropolitan Books), Senator Elizabeth Warren describes watching the results of Election Night 2016 unfold; writes of the anger among those witnessing long-fought middle-class gains being hijacked by special interests; and describes the new president as a man “always on the hunt for his next big con.”
“I’ll get the popcorn.”
I yelled up the stairs to let Bruce know I was coming. I also had the beer and my laptop.
He had the television on, with the second season of Ballers lined up. Our son had hooked us on it the year before, and we’d been saving the shows until tonight — Election Night.
It was November 8, 2016. The polls were about to close in Massachusetts, and we were about to start our Election Night ritual: clicking back and forth between news reports and binge-watching something really fun on television. I had my laptop so I could check on the local races, and my phone so, assuming the night went well, I could make some congratulatory calls.
Yeah, until I won my Senate race in 2012 I’d have guessed that a senator would watch election returns like a pro: a big group of people in a war room somewhere, multiple television screens on the walls, phones ringing, people rushing in with last-minute information. Lots of coffee cups and pizza boxes strewn over desks. Someone making pithy remarks about what it means that with 2 percent of Illinois reporting, Duckworth has a four-point lead, and turnout in the Seventh Precinct is high, and so on. In fact, I think I’ve seen that scene in the movies.
But not Bruce and me, not tonight. I wasn’t on the ballot this year, so I wouldn’t be huddling with a campaign team. Besides, by this point, there wasn’t anything else I could do to affect the election’s outcome. And with so much on the line, I knew that watching the numbers drift in over the next few hours would be agony.
For so many of these races, I’d been out there with the candidates — cheered them on, given speeches standing next to them, frozen and sweated and stepped in muck right along with them. Hillary Clinton’s race, of course, was the night’s biggest, but I would be chewing my fingernails watching the Senate races as well. There was Catherine Cortez Masto, a former attorney general in Nevada whom I’d worked with while fighting the banks during the housing crisis eight years ago. Katie McGinty, a former environmental policy official in Pennsylvania who was trying to unseat a Republican who seemed to be funded by an endless supply of Wall Street money. Russ Feingold, the former senator from Wisconsin who had been in the trenches with me as we’d fought to save families from predatory lenders fifteen years earlier and was making a strong push to get his old seat back. Maggie…