Elizabeth Warren Has Taken over 42K Selfies on Campaign Trail

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., poses for a selfie at the Iowa State Fair, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/AP Photo

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has taken over 42,000 selfies on the campaign trail, telling GQ that her infamous “selfie line” is “energizing” and allows her to better connect with voters.

The feature’s author, Julia Ioffe, noted that the “selfie line” happens to be the “main event” for many of the people who attend Warren’s campaign events. Warren’s campaign, Ioffe said, has the selfie line down to a science. It is a fairly quick process, with each interaction lasting about six seconds, according to the campaign.

GQ details the Warren campaign’s general procedure:

As soon as Warren is done delivering her stump speech, she’ll answer three randomly selected audience questions, and then four of her staffers will swoop in to get the selfie assembly line moving. If Warren sees that the emerging line is a particularly long one, she’ll kick off her black mules and lace up her sneakers, preparing for the slog of retail politics with an eye toward orthopedic comfort.

She’ll find her place in front of a giant American flag, beaming, ready to hug or to listen or, if the person is a little girl, to bend down, reach out her right pinkie and loop into the pinkie of the little girl and tell her that “running for president is what little girls do!” It’s not clear why this is the subject of a pinkie swear, or why the selfie line is called a selfie line, because what actually happens is that, the moment one staffer ushers you toward Warren, another takes your bag, a third staffer grabs your phone, snaps your picture (not a selfie) with the senator, and a fourth staffer pushes you off the stage as the first staffer ushers in a new selfie—photo—subject.

The Massachusetts senator has taken over 42,000 selfies on the campaign trail thus far.

“I don’t know how she does it after doing the speech and taking those questions, which is very hard,” former Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.

“I’ve never known anyone to do that before,” he added. “I know that when I finished my town halls, I just wanted to go home.”

Warren claims to love the selfie line because it is “energizing” and gives her the “chance to have the direct touch” with potential voters.

“I get to hear from one person after another what they want me to hear. Anything! This is their chance, and they can tell me anything they want as they come through that selfie line. And it keeps me connected to people in a powerfully important way,” she said.

Some — like political commentator Jess McIntosh — believe it serves as an example that Warren prioritizes working people, not big donors.

“She’s working on policy proposals and taking 40,000 selfies because she’s not spending eight hours a day with rich people. And that’s huge,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh’s sentiment is echoed by Warren’s second-quarter numbers, raising $19 million without the help of big fundraisers. In fact, the $19 million came from 384,000 individual donors, with donations averaging just $28.

Ultimately, Warren has slowly worked her way up to the top tier of candidates and is showing no signs of losing her status, as recent polls indicate.


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