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Warren grew up in the Central Plains state of Oklahoma, in a family she said lived "on the ragged edge of the middle class".

The Massachusetts Democrat said she's forming an exploratory committee for the 2020 campaign. She is hoping her reputation as a populist fighter can help her navigate a Democratic field that could include almost two dozen candidates.

As Democrats work to stop President Donald Trump from winning a second term, the upcoming presidential race is likely to be a crowded one on the left.

The video message out Monday features childhood pictures and grainy home video of the senator as a girl and then a young mom. A professor turned consumer advocate, she was instrumental in the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog agency created in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

"How did we get here?" she asked rhetorically.

Vowing to continue challenging the "billionaires and big corporations" as well as the politicians they've enlisted to cripple unions, dismantle financial regulations, and push tax cuts for the rich, the senator says: "We can make our democracy work for all of us". It that case, it won't matter much whom the Democrats nominate, though it's possible that Warren would drag down a few more Democrats than some of the other contenders would.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is expected to make another presidential run
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is expected to make another presidential run

I hope she does well. She was given an explanation.

After she clashed in 2017 on the Senate floor with top Republican Mitch McConnell over the nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general and would not be quieted, his phrase "Nevertheless, she persisted" was quickly adopted by feminists - and turned into T-shirts and bumper stickers. A flurry of announcements similar to Warren's could be coming this winter, and to accommodate what is expected to be a historically large field the Democratic National Committee announced before Christmas that they will hold a least a dozen debates in 2019 and 2020. It also tackles one of the most pervasive criticisms of the Democratic Party: that they've abandoned white working and middle-class voters. In 2016, she gained a seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, an attempt to burnish her foreign policy credentials. Trump has frequently delighted in derisively calling Warren "Pocahontas", a reference to her 2012 campaign against Republican Scott Brown when he claimed she had misrepresented her family's Cherokee heritage for professional gain.

In response to that video this fall, Trump called Warren a racial slur, as he has often before. The move was meant to rebut Trump's taunts of Warren as "Pocahontas".

During her years as a senator, Warren is perhaps best known for sharply grilling financial executives. Warren did not enter that race, and this fall the Boston Globe editorial board wrote she may have "missed her moment". Many prominent liberal commentators also reacted to Warren's announcement with a decided lack of enthusiasm about her candidacy and its chances.

But her bread-and-butter issue has been the defense of ordinary Americans against abuses by those with wealth and power.