LOS ANGELES (CN) – A day out from the critical Super Tuesday contest, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren rallied supporters in Los Angeles around labor and immigrant rights and hailed her campaign as progressive voters’ best chance to take back the White House.
Warren told the crowd of 3,000 supporters at East Los Angeles College she is Democratic voters’ best chance to unite the party and implement a host of progressive policy changes.
“Voters deserve a choice of someone who can both do the work to transform our government from the inside and who can bring pressure to bear on government by leading a grassroots movement from the outside,” Warren said.
Warren, who often talks about her father’s work as a janitor, spoke about U.S. janitors’ historical labor battles, particularly the “Justice for Janitors” campaign buttressed by LA immigrant women in the 1990s.
The campaign, backed by the Service Employees International Union, won critical labor protections for janitors and exposed corporate America’s tactics of driving wedges between minority communities, Warren said.
“Which brings me to Donald Trump,” Warren said. “Donald Trump ran a campaign demonizing Mexicans and immigrants – and he won.”
Warren said the November general election represents not only a chance to remove Trump from office but also to curb climate change, raise the national minimum wage and provide a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s undocumented.
“This is our moment to build the America of our best values,” Warren said.
With 14 states voting on Tuesday, delegate-rich California is the largest prize for the field of Democratic candidates.
That field narrowed over the weekend with former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar dropping out of the race.
Both contenders announced Monday they are endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden, who is fresh off a weekend primary victory in South Carolina – a much-needed boost for his campaign.
The endorsements are seen as an effort by moderate Democrats to consolidate their forces to slow the advance of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Sanders improved on his front-runner status by sweeping Democratic primary races in Nevada and New Hampshire, and performing well in Iowa, where he fell just behind Buttigieg in the delegate count.
Warren, who has struggled to perform well in any primary contest so far, congratulated Biden for his South Carolina victory but told the crowd Monday he falls short on progressive issues.
“Nominating someone who wants to restore the world before Donald Trump, when the status quo has been leaving more and more people behind for decades, is a big risk for our party and our country,” Warren said.
LA resident and Warren supporter Melissa Sambo told Courthouse News that despite Warren’s poor showing in primaries so far she believes she is the best candidate in the race.
“She’s the only candidate who has specific plans for a variety of issues,” said Sambo, who works as a graphic designer. “The majority of voters in the country haven’t voted yet so [the race] is still open.”
Early voting has been underway in California for more than a week.
In an Emerson College/Nexstar Poll released Monday, 38% of California and North Carolina voters said Sanders is their top choice in the 2020 race, well ahead of Biden’s 21% support.
Warren is third in the poll with 16% support, according to the survey results.
But elected officials and community groups across the Golden State have backed Warren’s run for the White House, including U.S Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, who chairs the state assembly’s Legislative Latino Caucus.
The crowd of supporters at Monday’s rally, flanked by food trucks selling churros and tacos, chanted Warren’s name during breaks between various Motown and Latin American tunes.
Rally organizers played songs from Cuban singer Celia Cruz, Latina superstar Selena and Los Angeles band Las Cafeteras as supporters held signs reading, “Latinos for Warren” and “Caucus to End Corruption.”
Warren told the crowd that historically the federal government has turned its back on immigrant workers, immigrant veterans of the U.S. military and immigrant workers who buttress the American workforce.
“These were one way relationships,” Warren said. “Tonight, I’m here to honor Latinas who are unsung heroes of the American story.”
The overture to Latino voters Monday and throughout the campaign is genuine and rooted in intentional outreach efforts across the state, Warren’s campaign said in a statement Monday.
The campaign’s National Latinx Community Engagement effort held forums in Bakersfield, Santa Maria, and Oxnard – communities with large populations of Latinos – and focused on issues impacting those areas.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro threw his support behind Warren after ending his 2020 run last year, lending the influence of a leading Latino political figure to her campaign.
Warren released a plan Monday to expand labor rights to farm workers who have traditionally been excluded from federal protections and to make agricultural fields safer to work in by cutting down exposure to pesticides.
“It is time that the workers in our food system share in the prosperity they help build,” the campaign said in a statement. “A life as a farmworker should not be a poverty sentence, but instead a path to the middle-class and a source of opportunity for their families.”
East LA College student Joseph Ramos told Courthouse News he is leaning towards a Sanders vote but came to the rally to hear directly from Warren.
“I’m here to see if [Warren] can sway me to vote for her,” said Ramos, who lives in the community surrounding the campus. “I’m not sure why she hasn’t been getting votes in primaries. I think she still might have a chance.”