Elizabeth Warren rails against corporate America in U of M speech

The distinguished senator visited for the anniversary of Paul Wellstone's death.

In Minneapolis on Sunday, Senator Elizabeth Warren called on the Democratic Party to get back to its roots of standing up for the working Americans and protecting them from corporate interests.

In town to mark the 15th anniversary of the death of celebrated Minnesota U.S. senator Paul Wellstone, the Massachusetts senator joined Rep. Keith Ellison on the stage at the University of Minnesota as they called for progressive politics within the party.

It comes amid a supposed rift within the Democrats that was seen during the 2016 primaries, when the establishment politics of Hillary Clinton was challenged by a growing, progressive movement from the left led by the likes of Bernie Sanders, Warren and Ellison.

The event, titled "The Democratic Party at a Crossroads: The Wellstone Way and Economic Populism," saw Warren channeling Wellstone in calling for her party to fight for working families, the Minnesota Daily reports.

The party's inability to stand up to corporate America during its time in power allowed President Donald Trump to hammer Democrats for being in bed with Wall Street, Warren said, at a time where income inequality has exploded.

The Economic Policy Institute reported in 2015 that CEO pay rose by 997 percent between 1978 and 2014, whereas the pay of a typical worker grew by just 10.9 percent in that same period.

It's unsurprising therefore, Warren argued, that working Americans were unhappy with establishment politics.

"These people see corporate profit and CEO pay shoot through the roof, while their own wages haven't budged in decades," she told the audience, CityPages reports.

"Unions are under attack, and workers are pressed to give up more and more rights. Investment advisors want to rip off retirees to line their own pockets. Employers reclassify workers so they don't have to pay overtime."

Wellstone, one of the heroes of the progressive movement, spent years as Minnesota's senator fighting – often on his own – banks and credit card companies that he said were trying to rig the system against poor Americans, as The Nation reports.

In his spirit, Warren called on the party to fight harder on issues of economic justice, while Rep. Ellison addressed more directly its challenge of winning back power across the country – not just in the White House.

FOX 9 reports Ellison said the DFL party has "allowed itself to become a presidential-focused party."

"It should be every race from dog catcher to the White House," he added, a sentiment echoed by Minnesota native and former Vice President Walter Mondale.

"We have got to get people stirred up," Mondale said, FOX 9 notes. "They have to feel like there's hope, and that hope has to be based on real things. So that's what we have to work on."

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