TIME Crime

Ferguson Cop Says Dislike of Police Is ‘Not a Race Issue’

St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office undated evidence photo from August 9 Ferguson Police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri shows officer Darren Wilson
Reuters Officer Darren Wilson is pictured in this undated handout evidence photo

In an interview with the New Yorker, the cop who killed Michael Brown says race did not affect his policing

Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown last year, said in an interview published Monday that he does not see race as a factor in day-to-day policing.

“Everyone is so quick to jump on race. It’s not a race issue,” Wilson said in a new profile published by the New Yorker.

Wilson said there are two opposing views about policing: “There are people who feel that police have too much power, and they don’t like it. There are people who feel police don’t have enough power, and they don’t like it.”

In March, the Ferguson Police Department received a scathing review from the Justice Department showing police regularly targeted black residents, fining and arresting them disproportionately. A separate Justice Department report cleared Wilson of any civil rights violations in his confrontation with Brown.

Wilson, who is currently living near St. Louis, told the New Yorker he experienced “culture shock” as a white officer in the mostly black counties around the city where he began his police career. “They’re so wrapped up in a different culture than—what I’m trying to say is, the right culture, the better one to pick from,” Wilson said.

When asked to clarify what he meant by “culture,” which the New Yorker noted could sound racially charged, the the former officer said he was referring to a “pre-gang culture” focussed on instant gratification, and that this mentality “is the same younger culture that is everywhere in the inner cities.”

Read the full New Yorker interview here.

TIME 2016 Election

Republicans Brace for Biggest Week Yet in Presidential Race

A debate that could winnow the field is just part of a critical campaign stretch

For months, the 2016 Republican presidential field has mushroomed to include an almost-unheard-of 17 candidates. This week, the field could finally start to narrow

The top 10 candidates based on national polling will gather in Cleveland on Thursday for the first prime time, nationally-televised debate of the campaign. In a public spectacle millions of Americans are likely to tune in to Fox News for, the 10 will lay out their cases, zing their opponents, fall prey to gaffes—and try to avoid getting sucked into The Donald Trump show.

The seven candidates whose polling numbers are too minuscule for the main event will participate in an undercard event on Fox several hours earlier, playing to a much smaller audience. And while it’s unlikely any candidates will actually drop out this week, those who don’t make the cut will be flirting with anonymity and eventual defeat.

“You know, I’ll be very happy on Tuesday when the standings come out and I’m in there,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is on the cusp of missing the cut for the premier debate, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “Once you get on the stage, it’s not going to matter if you’re No. 1, No. 5 or No. 10. … I’m confident I’ll be there on Thursday night.”

In addition to the debate, 14 of the 17 GOP contenders will speak one at a time Monday night in Manchester, N.H., for a candidate forum that will be broadcast live on CSPAN and in three early-voting states. And on Friday and Saturday in Atlanta, 10 candidates are set to meet for the annual RedState gathering hosted by the influential conservative website.

The GOP debates are as much a pitfall to stumble over as they are an opportunity to shine. In November of 2011, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry famously forgot the name of the third agency he would eliminate as president, saying only “oops”—a moment that dominated the news cycle and was largely responsible for his eventual defeat in the primary. A strong performance by Mitt Romney in his second debate against President Obama in October 2012 briefly helped boost his momentum and tighten the race with the incumbent Democrat.

This year, the Fox News rules for participating in the debate make it an extremely close contest to be on the national stage. An average of the last five polls show seven of the top 10 candidates—including Ben Carson, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich—within about three percentage points of one another.

The candidates who miss the top-tier debate will be relegated to a smaller forum that will be broadcast earlier in the evening. Those who could be in the undercard event include Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and former New York Gov. George Pataki, who are all polling at about 3% or less nationally among Republicans.

With the ever-provocative Donald Trump leading the Republican field and set to be center-stage in the GOP debate, candidates are scrambling to prepare to face the real estate mogul and take a bite out of his support. Strategists are divided over the best way to approach Trump, and whether they should attack him or try to stay above the fray.

“I’m not a debater, I’ve never debated before,” Trump said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I guess my whole life has been a debate in one way but I’ve never been on a stage debating.”

Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee Chairman, has come under fire about the rules for entering the first debate, but he’s defended the guidelines—which were set by Fox News, not the party—and pointed to the fact that there are basically two debates.

“All seventeen candidates,” Priebus said on Meet the Press, “are going to be participating in debate night. So everyone’s going to have an opportunity, and I think that’s wonderful for our party.”

TIME 2016 Election

Donald Trump Widely Disliked Among Latinos, New Poll Shows

Trump has claimed in the past to have a broad support in the Latino community

A large majority of Latinos view Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump negatively, according to a new poll, and more than half believe his recent comments about Mexican immigrants were racist and inappropriate.

Trump, who is leading the Republican field in polls ahead of the first debate this week, has drawn both headlines and scorn for his incendiary comments about Mexicans and immigrants, saying during his announcement speech in June that Mexico is “sending people that have lots of problems… They are bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

A survey of 250 Latinos found that 75% view the television star and real estate mogul unfavorably, and 61% say their view of him is “very negative,” according to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll results. More than half, or 55% of Latinos, said his remarks about Mexicans are “insulting and racist and have no place in a campaign for president.”

Trump has claimed in the past to have a broad support in the Latino community.

“I think I’ll win the Hispanic vote,” Trump said during a campaign stop near the Mexican border in late July. “Over the years, thousands and thousands of Hispanics have worked for me and now work for me and the relationship is very good.”

Of those surveyed, 69% said Trump is hurting the Republican Party’s image, a concern that many in the GOP’s leadership share.

TIME Baseball

9-Year-Old Bat Boy Dies After Being Hit in the Head During a Game

Kaiser Carlile was running to pick up a bat on the ground when he was hit by a practice swing by the on-deck hitter

A 9-year-old boy who was hit in the head on Saturday during a National baseball Congress World Series game has died, the amateur Liberal Bee Jays baseball team announced on its Facebook.

Kaiser Carlile was running to pick up a bat on the ground near the on-deck hitter, who didn’t notice him and accidentally hit him on the head with a practice swing, CBS reports. Paramedic and home-plate umpire Mark Goldfeder treated Carlile until the ambulance arrived.

“With the permission of the family, and with much sorrow and a very broken heart, I regretfully inform everyone that Kaiser Carlile passed away earlier this evening. Please keep his family and our team in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you all for the support during this ordeal!” said the team’s president, Nathan McCaffrey.

Carlile was wearing a helmet, as required.

TIME Companies

Kraft Recalls Cheese Because People Are Choking on the Plastic

Kraft has recalled some American cheese singles after reports of customers choking on plastic wrapping

That might be the last burger you’ll ever eat.

Kraft has recalled some American cheese singles after reports of several Americans choking on plastic wrapping. Some sections of the plastic may remain connected to the cheese after it’s unwrapped, causing three Americans to choke and 10 complaints, according to a company statement.

The recall applies to 3- and 4-pound sizes of Kraft Singles American and White American pasteurized prepared cheese with a use-by date of December 29, 2015 to January 4, 2016. That’s about 36,000 cases of the recalled product in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Grand Cayman.

“We deeply regret this situation and apologize to any consumers we have disappointed,” Kraft said.



The Left’s Quest to Create Hundreds of Elizabeth Warrens

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen Delivers Semiannual Report On The Economy To The Senate Banking Committee
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, listens to Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, during her semiannual report on the economy to the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, July 16, 2015.

“Elizabeth—she’s here?”

The thumbs up came from the back of the meeting room, and two hundred future Sen. Elizabeth Warrens stood up and waited for their prototype to enter. Spindly and with a bouncy step, the Massachusetts senator strode rapidly into the room and was waylaid by a friendly sea of imperfect facsimiles calling for selfies. “What a way to start the morning!” Warren said at last, breathless at the podium.

Warren was stopping by a conference on Thursday just a 10-minute walk away from the Capitol building in Washington DC, where the goal was unabashedly to bolster the Warren brand of the Democratic party. In the belly of the swank Washington Court Hotel—also the host of a recent events for steel wire producers and the beef industry—progressive candidates for municipal and state office across the country had gathered for a four-day affair to create a surge of Democratic candidates in municipal and state elections, and build a movement of rookie Warrens.

The conference, organized by the advocacy group Progressive Change Campaign Committee, was intended to train candidates and activists from states far flung as Wisconsin and Louisiana to run for office and eventually shape national policy. TIME was one of the only publications granted access to the meeting.

Much of the focus was on the nuts and bolts of effective campaigning and fundraising. Questions flew: Do candidates need to fundraise within their own district? How much time should candidates spend on fundraising calls? How do you best target voters during get-out-the-vote efforts? Should candidates’ events have red wine, or are cookies enough? The PCCC offered candidates who attended back-end internet tools replete with website templates, and readymade email blasters and event managers.

And Warren was the star attraction. “You are the progressive bench, and we need a bench,” Warren told them. Dozens of attendees wore identical blue shirts that said, I’m from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic party. “Elizabeth Warren is the North Star,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the PCCC. And the enthusiasm for Warren has spilled over all across the left: “I want to clone Elizabeth Warren into every candidate,” said Tefere Gebre the executive vice president of the AFL-CIO, in an interview with TIME two weeks ago.

In the Washington hotel, building an army of Warrens to challenge establishment-backed Democrats was exactly the point. “Yes, this is about building campaigns and winning office, but this is also about building a movement,” Warren said during her keynote on Thursday. “You are the living spark of the progressive movement.” It was a sentiment made clear by the conference organizers. “How do we elect 300 more Elizabeth Warrens?” said Stephanie Taylor, the co-founder of the PCCC who dreamt up the conference. “This training is part of it: finding them and giving them the tools to run great campaigns.”

Movement-building with Warren in the lead is in part about catching up to conservatives. Republicans can boast of presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, Rush Limbaugh and a formidable coalition of right-wing legislators threatening to unseat their house speaker. Meanwhile the left has a few big-city mayors, a struggling cable network (MSNBC), handful of legislators (Sherrod Brown, Keith Ellison) and a upstart presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who counts Eugene V. Debs and the nation of Denmark among his biggest influences. And Warren, the progressive nonpareil, has refused to run for the White House.

Anger over the Obama years is a key motivator for conservatives. The stimulant on the left is made of a milder sauce, namely, disappointment over the Obama years, and many progressive ideals have faltered in Congress and on their way to the White House.

Republicans have taken notice of Warrens influence over Democrats. While the activists met in Washington, her name came up on the Republican campaign trail in Cedar Falls, Iowa. “The fact is the Democratic Party has a problem,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said. “Their problem is that Elizabeth Warren is taking over that party.”

“They’re all running to be just like Elizabeth Warren,” he added, saying that Hillary Clinton has borrowed from Warren’s playbook on the campaign trail.

Though Warren was only present for the first hour of the four-day training session, her name came up again and again. When she ran for Senate in 2012, Warren liked to make fundraising calls from her kitchen at home while boiling a pot of tea and wearing a headset, an alumna of Warren’s fundraising team, Sarah Badawi, told trainees. Joel Silberman, a speech trainer, said in a session that when he consulted Warren before a Massachusetts state convention speech, he told Warren a trick to cure nerves: count the number of steps to the podium.

Taylor and Green of the PCCC once sat on Warren’s front porch and shared lemonade and iced tea to convince her to first run for Senate, Warren noted during her address. The former director of research for Warren’s senatorial campaign, Peter Jones led a class on opposition research. (A quick Google search on Warren’s defeated opponent for Senate, Scott Brown, shows him shirtless in photos hawking diet pills, a fact that Warren recently noted in a speech.)

Most of those hoping to follow Warren’s lead at the conference don’t look anything like her or share her Ivy League background. There was the black state senator who represents Ferguson, an Indian-American candidate for Congress from a Detroit suburb, and as many pairs of sneakers as suits. Union organizers, mothers, climate activists, feminists and campaign staffers were in Washington from Vermont and Georgia.

“You are a part of a global re-owning of a populist, progressive vision of America,” said Zephyr Teachout, chief executive of the Mayday PAC which aims to get money out of politics.

Many at the conference argued local victories could sway their states, and ultimately, Congress. Over a lunch of ravioli and tagliatelli with lemon sauce and iced tea, two attendees from Rhode Island debated the merits of the conference. “The more states have something like paid leave, and it’s successful, the more likely we’ll be able to get Congress to move it forward,” Shandi Hanna, an activist at the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island. “We need to infiltrate the system and change it.”

“You look around this room people—the people I’ve met makes me realize the country is moving in a good direction,” said Margaux Morisseau, a candidate for Rhode Island state Senate.

So far, the left has been unable to create the kind of movement that caught fire on the right after President Obama’s election. But in some ways, things have changed in recent years. Cities and states like California and Rhode Island are requiring businesses to provide paid family leave; activists in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle have with mixed success pushed for a $15-minium wage; Bernie Sanders has attracted crowds of 10,000 and more in purple and red states like Wisconsin and Arizona. To progressives, those are signs of shifting winds. “People will start to realize there’s a change happening from underneath. They’ll either have to evolve or die,” said Chris Larson, a state senator in Wisconsin.

Some date the recent wave in progressive activism back to Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign. A left-backed candidate, Dean’s loss in the primary spawned Democracy for America, a progressive PAC. The past five years has seen a slow increase in organizational support for progressive Democrats. DFA, MoveOn.org, Progressive Majority also aim to train progressive candidates for office.

It’s Warren’s message that has helped motivate them in recent years, and attendees repeatedly mentioned Warren’s name during the conference. “We can whine about this, we can whimper about this, or we can fight back,” Warren said Thursday. “I’m fighting back!”

The goal, of course, is victory against Republicans, and against old-line Democrats in primary contests. If they win, it will come the way of conquerors of old: by conversion, or a rout.

“It’s our movement,” said CM! Winters Palacio, a Chicago librarian (with punctuation in her first name) who is running for City Council and says she is facing pushback from the moderate Democratic mayor, Rahm Emmanuel. “We will eat the elephant one bite at a time.”

TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Praises Mother In First TV Ads of 2016

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Stephen B. Morton—AP In this July 23, 2015 photo Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Columbia, S.C.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign will air the first two television ads of the Democratic primary race on Tuesday, as part of an effort to head off Republican attacks and present Clinton as a “tenacious fighter” for everyday Americans.

In a five-week ad buy worth $1 million each in Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton will share her personal story, explaining how she drew inspiration mother’s life, and discuss her work in and out of government on behalf of children.

The two advertisements, which appear geared to building Clinton’s reputation as a politician who cares about regular voters, will air in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s biggest media markets, and statewide in New Hampshire.

“When I think about why I’m doing this I think about my mother Dorothy. She was abandoned by her parents at the age of eight, sent from Chicago to LA to live with grandparents who didn’t want her,” Clinton says in the first advertisement. “But people showed her kindness, gave her a chance.”

Accompanied by footage of mothers and their children, Clinton says say, “That’s why I’m doing this. That’s why I’ve always done this. For all the Dorothys.”

The second advertisement focuses on Clinton’s time after college, when she worked for the Children’s Defense Fund, a kids’ advocacy group, and then touts her work on school reform and health care. The ad then turns to Clinton’s time as senator from New York, when she “made sure the heroes and families of 9/11 got the care they needed,” according to a voiceover.

The ad buys fit in with a larger theme the campaign has sought to broadcast since she announced: that Clinton has long been a strong advocate for children and Americans, a trait she learned from her own mother’s difficult childhood.

The Clinton campaign had long planned to air television ads sometime in the late summer, a campaign official said. Republicans are amassing cash for large ad buys in the four early states, and Clinton’s campaign anticipates that much of it is intended to attack Clinton.

Clinton’s spots aim to define the Democratic frontrunner with a positive biographical message.

“We’re going to make sure everyone knows who Hillary Clinton really is — who she fights for and what has motivated her lifelong commitment to children and families,” campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement. “Since Day One, we’ve planned for a competitive primary with Hillary herself working to earn every vote and, ultimately, the nomination. This is the natural next step.”

According to a nationwide Quinnipiac poll released at the end of July, 52% of Americans believe Clinton does not care about their needs.

Clinton’s campaign hopes that when voters know the Democratic frontrunner’s personal story, much of which was deemphasized during her last run for president, her poll numbers will improve.

The campaign filmed the footage of Clinton speaking to the camera about her mother in the first advertisement in June, as part of a plan to show Clinton’s record.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s challenger for the Democratic nomination, has gained momentum in Iowa and New Hampshire but is still at least 10 points behind her in polls.

TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Takes the Fight to GOP in Florida Trip

Democratic Presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls for an end to the Cuban trade embargo as she gives a policy speech at the Florida International University on July 31, 2015 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle—Getty Images Democratic Presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls for an end to the Cuban trade embargo as she gives a policy speech at the Florida International University on July 31, 2015 in Miami, Florida.

"The Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all"

Hillary Clinton attacked Republicans presidential candidates on Cuba policy, voting rights and social welfare policy during a jaunt on Friday to Florida, the home state of contenders Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and a likely swing state in the general election.

During two appearances in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, where Clinton discussed race and engaging with Cuba, the Democratic frontrunner called out Bush and others who have opposed President Obama’s thaw with the isolated island nation.

Clinton did not mention Bush’s name in her first speech at the National Urban League’s annual conference in Fort Lauderdale, but dropped the name of his super PAC, “Right to Rise.”

“You cannot seriously talk about the ‘Right to Rise’ and support laws that deny the right to vote,” Clinton said. “I don’t think you can credibly say that everyone has a right to rise and then say you’re for phasing out Medicare or for repealing Obamacare. People can’t rise if they can’t afford health care.”

Tim Miller, a spokesman for Bush tweeted a quick response to Clinton’s criticism: “The DNC and Hillary scramble to attack Jeb today and misrepresent his record betrays their fear of his ability to broaden GOP support,” he tweeted.

A few hours later on Friday in Miami, Clinton made a case for continuing to open up relations with Cuba, calling on Congress and the White House to lift the embargo on trade with Cuba.

“It’s time for [GOP] leaders to either get on board or get out of the way. The Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all,” Clinton said.

The 2016 Republican candidates “have it backward,” Clinton said. “Engagement is not a gift to the Castros, its a threat to the Castros. An American embassy in Havana isn’t a concession, it’s a beacon.”

Republicans argue that the United States should not normalize relations with Cuba unless the government makes significant steps to curb human rights abuses and open up the country.

Clinton’s campaign in the last few days has set out specific criticism of Rubio, Bush and Scott Walker’s position on Cuban relations with a detailed “fact check” of their past statements, arguing that a policy of isolationism has not succeeded in leading to democratization in the communist island nation.

Clinton proposed on Friday finding ways to increase business with Cuba as well as the rest of the Americas, saying that the United States too often looks “east and west, but we don’t look south” and calling Latin America a crucial part of American foreign policy. “Our economies, our communities and even our families are deeply entwined,” Clinton said.

Polls show that Clinton has struck on a winning issue in Cuba: a Gallup survey found that 59% of Americans support reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.

“We cannot afford to let out of touch out of date partisan ideas and candidates strip away all the progress we’ve made,” Clinton said.

TIME Bernie Sanders

Here’s What the Bernie Sanders Cocktail Tastes Like

Barmini is José Andrés' culinary cocktail lab adjoining minibar at 855 E Street NW in Washington, DC.
The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images Barmini is José Andrés' culinary cocktail lab adjoining minibar at 855 E Street NW in Washington, DC.

It's got Vermont maple syrup, grapefruit juice and tequila

When Miguel Marcelino Herrera learned that Sen. Bernie Sanders would be coming to a house party he was hosting in his apartment, the Washington bartender wanted to do something special. He decided to create a cocktail in his honor.

After experimenting with a mojito made with maple syrup from Vermont, which Sanders represents, and a Michelada made with a lager from Brooklyn, where Sanders grew up, he settled on something a little stronger: a variation on a tequila-based cocktail called the paloma.

“In my languge paloma means dove, and dove means soul,” explains Herrera, who grew up in Puebla, Mexico. “And Bernie truly has soul. When he speaks it’s almost like he has a truly big holy spirit driving his ideas.”

The Bernie Paloma is made with silver tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice and Vermont maple syrup.

Be warned: If you’re making one at home, it’ll set you back a bit. For a TIME taste test, the main ingredients cost $59.36, and that wasn’t counting sucrose esters, an emulsifier that can be found online in generic form for another $15. (Brand-name Sucro, as specified by the recipe, costs a whopping $105.)

Herrera, 24, works at the swank, reservations-only Washington cocktail lounge Barmini, which is owned by noted D.C. chef José Andrés. (This isn’t the first time that Andrés has come up in connection to 2016, either. He backed out of a deal to open an upscale restaurant in an D.C. hotel being developed by Donald Trump after the Republican candidate made anti-immigrant comments at his campaign launch.)

The drink was served at a house party held Wednesday as part of a massive national organizing event for Sanders, but it gained attention after the New York Times shared the recipe in a story.

MORE: Sanders Hosts Biggest Organizing Event of 2016

So how does it taste? Here are some remarks from our assortment of taste testers:

“Nope. It tastes like this drink from college called Skittles.”

“The hairs on my arms just stood up from the smell. … (After drinking) Not bad.”

“Refreshing. That is a fine drink.”

Noting the lime and grapefruit juices: “This might be useful if I was at sea.”

All our testers recommended serving the drink chilled or over ice, as otherwise it tended to come off a little too much like something you’d get served in a red Solo cup at a college party. As it’s a tequila drink, the salt-based garnish is also strongly recommended.

For those wanting to try at home, here’s the recipe:

The Bernie Paloma

0.5 oz. Vermont maple syrup

0.5 oz. fresh lime juice

2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice

2 oz. silver tequila

Garnish: “salt air,” which is made by emulsifying sea salt, lime juice, water and Sucro with a hand blender.

TIME elizabeth warren

Elizabeth Warren Wants You to Run For Office

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) attends the Planned Parenthood Generation Conference opening ceremony and welcome reception at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel on July 8, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Jennifer Graylock—Getty Images Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) attends the Planned Parenthood Generation Conference opening ceremony and welcome reception at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel on July 8, 2015 in Washington, DC.

If you're a progressive, that is

Sen. Elizabeth Warren urged down-ballot candidates and grassroots Democrats to run for office at a gathering of liberals in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, saying that local elections won in 2016 will help build a national progressive movement in future races.

The Massachusetts Democrat spoke at the kickoff of an intensive four-day conference designed to train a deep bench of progressive candidates to run for local office and build a movement of liberal candidates.

“This is about building a movement,” said Warren. “We build real change in this country by putting energy on our side by bringing ideas to the front, by showing people there are choices.”

Activists on the left have long lamented the lack of a strong grassroots movement to help reshape the Democratic Party equivalent to the Tea Party, which helped elect prominent Republicans such as Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, leading to a swell of GOP victories in 2010 and 2014.

The conference in Washington, organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, is intended to train state legislators, state senators and school board members, building up an infrastructure of candidates to eventually match conservatives’ ascent in Congress.

Warren, a standard-bearer for the progressive left who had never run for office before her 2012 Senate campaign, told attendees from states far-ranging as Rhode Island and Minnesota, that they are a central part of the Democratic movement.

“It is so important that we secure victories at the state and local level,” Warren said. “Washington is dysfunctional. We need you to be out there, town by town, county by county, state by state across this nation.”

Warren set out a progressives’ manifesto that received repeated standing ovations.

She called for raising the minimum wage, protecting workers’ bargaining rights, fighting for debt free college and combating racism. “We believe that no one should work full time and still live in poverty,” Warren said. “We believe that black lives matter.”

Warren is much beloved among liberals, who see her as one of the few prominent voices in Congress for the Democratic left. Progressive groups including Democracy for America and MoveOn.org spent months organizing a campaign to encourage Warren to run for president.

Though Warren has declined to run, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has taken her place as the progressive candidate in the Democratic primary, attracting many of Warren’s grassroots supporters to work for his campaign.

Warren is seen as having a wide-ranging influence on the Democratic primary despite her refusal to run, challenging frontrunner Hillary Clinton to take positions on debt-free college and cabinet appointees.

Some in the audience were running for mayors of a small town, state legislature or considering running for city council. For many, the politics of left and right at the national level have few practical implications for effectively running a small town.

“At this point I’m not espousing far left, progresssive ideas. I just want to get stuff done,” Luke Feeney, who is running for mayor of Chillicothe, a town south of Cleveland, Ohio said before Warren spoke. “If the grass in the park isn’t cut, people won’t get behind the big platform.”

Still, Warren riled up her audience with a long view toward rallying a left movement.

“Victories in 2015 and 2016 are the victores of tomorrow,” she said.

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