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Elizabeth Warren offers a confident, “No thanks, I got this” to Stephen Colbert’s campaign advice

Photo: Scott Kowalchyk (CBS)

It’s campaign season everybody, in that it’s still more than an entire goddamned year until Election Day. That means that the ever-so-slowly narrowing field of Democrats jostling to be the one to hurl Donald Trump into the Potomac (politically speaking) will be on every television show with a working microphone and camera for the foreseeable future. There’s been no shortage of presidential hopefuls making the late-night rounds this week, with, just last night, New Jersey Senator Corey Booker gamely fielding so-so funny campaign slogans from Jimmy Kimmel, and Massachusetts Senator and woman who’s not here for your greed-head nonsense Elizabeth Warren getting a full two segments on The Late Show to continue to lay out why we as a nation need to essentially start doing everything completely differently.

That’s sort of a joke, although Warren, as is her way, made her case for fixing an America that put Donald-fucking-Trump in charge of the nuclear codes with no-bullshit, policy-driven zeal. Calling Trump “corruption in the flesh,” and “a truly terrible president. Not just bad—terrible,” Warren simply wasn’t having the argument that voters should just pick a safe candidate to ensure that Trump doesn’t run the United States into the ground like, say, a casino or a mail-order steak business. Asked by Colbert if her recent campaign rhetoric that “We can’t choose a candidate we don’t believe in just because we’re too scared to do anything else” was a veiled slam at Joe Biden, Warren said no . . . but then went on to lay out the case to not just “hide under the covers,” which sounds pretty much like Biden’s whole “remember Barack Obama?” message so far, to be honest.

Colbert continued to be the best last-night interlocutor of candidates looking to cadge some free airtime, nimbly slipping in questions about, say Warren’s Medicare For All plan and the potential tax increases for the middle class that she studiously avoids saying out loud. Pitching a bit of campaign advice to the inveterate campaigner, Colbert suggested comparing any such increases to taxes for public schools, a bit of host-splaining to which Warren—while still never saying “middle class tax increase”—politely but firmly brushed off. Making the case, as usual with the sort of fact-based decency that’s so alien to the current occupant of the White House as to require a translator, Warren explained how her plan to fix a healthcare system that is “not sustainable,” and that drives millions of American families broke every year requires an equitable system where “people who have more will pay more,” and where nobody in the country will have to choose between death and life-crippling poverty. Doing her own callback to Obama, she praised the former President for recognizing that healthcare is a human right, regardless of insurance companies’ profits.

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That’s the sort of talk that gets rich, entitled, corruptly ghoulish greed-monsters all upset on their Twitter feeds, but, as Warren put it in response to Colbert joking that Warren’s proposed “two cent” tax means the super-wealthy will only get to keep 98 cents out of every dollar over $50 million, “Oh, boo-hoo.” Asked by Colbert what she agrees with Donald Trump about, Warren took a long moment to run down a mental checklist of every shitty, treasonous, self-enriching, bigoted, criminal, wantonly cruel thing Trump has done since taking office and finally found one. “Yes!,” she said, her eyes lighting up—Trump signed a bill to make hearing aids more affordable. Warren herself co-sponsored the bill, sure, but fair is fair.

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.