To begin, it is important to identify Senator Warren’s claim. When asked a question based on the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi’s statement that only Congress could cancel student debt, Warren emphatically answered, “The President has the authority to cancel student loan debt” (“Sen. Warren: Biden Canceling Student Loan ... - Youtube.com.” 08:16-08:19). She immediately justified her claim with the argument that previous presidents have done it. Her use, though, of previous presidential actions is a weak reason and offers no proof that in fact, President Biden has the authority and that the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, was wrong. Since a poll by CNBC published in December 2021 shows that “more than 60% of voters support some student loan debt forgiveness”, it can be assumed that this is a popular view. This makes her argument a bandwagon fallacy meaning that “The flaw in this argument is that the popularity of an idea has absolutely no bearing on its validity” (“Your Logical Fallacy Is Bandwagon”). Senator Warren’s stance, without valid evidence to support her claim, becomes more of a personal opinion than a verifiable fact.
Furthermore, Senator Warren uses inductive reasoning to draw conclusions and combines it with a burden of proof fallacy. For example, her statement “The laws are very clear on this. What we need President Biden to do is pick up that authority and use it” (“Sen. Warren: Biden Canceling Student Loan ... - Youtube.com.” 08:39-008:47) her claim makes President Biden appear guilty of withholding the canceling of student debt when, in her words, he has the authority to do so. This is inductive reasoning because it sets up a no win situation for the President. It also creates a burden of proof fallacy in her logic because she doesn’t have to prove what laws she is talking about, instead she shifts the burden of proof to the president when she states that all he has to do is “pick up that authority and use it”.
In addition, the main link to her ideas and claims is that if one President, without consideration of the facts or situation that faced the previous presidents, did it, then the next one can too. To connect her argument that President Biden can cancel student debt to the previous presidents’ actions she uses the logic fallacy of the loaded question to support her claim. She asks “You know how I know that?” Then without allowing an answer or rebuttal, she answers it herself by stating, “Because President Obama did it. And because President Trump did it . . .”(“Sen. Warren: Biden Canceling Student Loan ... - Youtube.com.” 08:16-26). The loaded question fallacy is a way to deflect any answers that might deny her claim. Her use of this type of question, where the speaker asks and then answers it herself, is an example of hypophora, a rhetorical device, which in this case is used to emphasize her claim. An examination of Senator Warren’s links to her ideas are weak since they lack sufficient evidence to explain exactly what the previous presidents did and why.
Equally important to consider in evaluating Senator Warren’s claim, is to see how she justifies her position and her personal point of view with the words she chooses to use. Two phrases that she repeats to convince listeners that she is right are “economic justice” and “racial justice. The general view of economic justice is that the economy would be better if it was fairer, and that justice and the economy need to be on the same team to help people create better lives. By using the phrase “It is a matter of economic justice” ((“Sen. Warren: Biden Canceling Student Loan ... - Youtube.com.” 08:48-50), Warren is trying to convince listeners to believe that by not using his “power” to cancel student debt, the President is wrong and she is right. She uses an expository set of words to emphasize her claim. It’s the same reason she says “It is also a racial justice issue. African-Americans borrow more money. . . and have a harder time paying it off . . .” (“Sen. Warren: Biden Canceling Student Loan ... - Youtube.com.” 09:18-28). She is well aware that in today’s climate these are persuasive words that intensify her claim because now it points a finger at President Biden as if he is holding African Americans back by not using his authority to cancel student loan debt.
Finally, both Senator Warren’s points of emphasis and tone are designed to draw her listeners into her argument and bring them to her conclusion. The main point of emphasis is “The President has the authority to cancel student loan debt” (“Sen. Warren: Biden Canceling Student Loan ... - Youtube.com.” 08:16-08:19). In her speech she uses the word “authority” four times, and bases her entire argument around that word. She also uses the two phrases, economic and racial justice, to drive her point home that her claim is well founded because the President has a moral obligation to cancel student debt. As for her tone, it is assertive, meaning clear and direct, and effective. Warren is an accomplished speaker and she measures her words to create the effect that she wants. For instance, she raises her pitch and leans her face forward into the camera when she asks her question “You know how I know that?”(“Sen. Warren: Biden Canceling Student Loan ... - Youtube.com.” 08:19-20). In contrast, she uses hand gestures to show she is counting each time she uses the previous presidents names as proof of her argument. She even pauses and repeats the word “cancel” several times. It is evident that Senator Warren’s assertive tone during this interview is designed to emphasize her points and add truth to her claim.
In conclusion, an evaluation of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s claim during the interview that “The President has the authority to cancel student loan debt” demonstrates her use of inductive reasoning to further her personal opinion and claim with hypophora rhetoric, brief examples to describe the links between her ideas, persuasive and expository word choices, repeated words for emphasis in a critical and assertive tone with loaded questions, burden of proof and bandwagon fallacie