In Democratic Primary, Progressive Vision Provides Strongest Path

 With the explosively disastrous advent of the Iowa caucuses, the Democratic presidential primary season is officially in full swing. Still, the field has yet to narrow in any meaningful way, and Democratic voters still have plenty of White House hopefuls to throw their support behind — 11, to be exact.

Within that broad field, two primary camps of candidates have emerged — a progressive wing, creating something of a challenge to the status quo within the Democratic Party, and the moderate core. Notable progressives are Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; closer to the middle are former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and others.

Now that the results from Iowa are more or less finalized following a deeply troubling debacle that delayed any results from being released for more than a day, it seems that the caucuses resulted in a relative dead heat between Sanders and Buttigieg. While pundits will undoubtedly talk themselves in circles about the implications that Iowa will have for the rest of the primary process, one truth is important to home in on: Democratic voters are still relatively split on the question of whether a moderate or a progressive view of the future will be more effective.

In late January, the The New York Times’ Editorial Board released its traditional candidate endorsement after spending more than 12 hours interviewing all of the candidates. However, this year, the board broke tradition and endorsed not one Democratic candidate, but two. They made arguments for both Elizabeth Warren as the best progressive candidate and Amy Klombuchar as the best moderate candidate. They chose to endorse two candidates because of the radically different stances between the progressive and moderate Democratic camps. 

The Times claims to have endorsed these two candidates in order to guide both progressive and moderate Democratic voters in the upcoming election. They argued that both the progressive and moderate Democratic models deserve consideration in 2020, and believe that Warren and Klobuchar represent the best of the models, respectively. 

However, the most important decision Democratic voters need to make is not about which specific moderate or progressive candidate to support; rather, the bigger question voters are faced with is whether to support a progressive agenda or a moderate one. The Times rightfully makes the argument that Democratic voters “must decide which of their two models would be most compelling for the American people and best suited for repairing the Republic.” Their dual-endorsement provides absolutely no guidance in how voters should make that choice — a disappointing choice for the nation’s paper of record, which enjoys expansive direct access to all candidates, to make.

The Review’s endorsement will take the stance that The New York Times did not; we will endorse a progressive route forward for the Democratic Party — and for the country as a whole. 

Admittedly, the Editorial Board is not unified behind a particular progressive candidate — namely, Sanders or Warren. However, we are unified in our belief that, in order to beat Donald Trump and chart an equitable path forward, the future of the Democratic Party can and should be progressive, and there is more than one candidate who fits the bill. 

While Sanders and Warren have very similar stances on most relevant issues, they have a couple of key ideological differences that result in some differing policies. Most notably, Sanders and Warren disagree on the pace of implementation of progressive policy points and whether or not a truly progressive agenda can work within the constraints of capitalism. These overarching differences inevitably lead Warren and Sanders to differ in some areas, including taxation rates, free college, and approaches to foreign policy and trade deals. 

Despite these differences, both Warren and Sanders show fierce and genuine commitment to progressive policies. Unlike The New York Times, we won’t tell you who to vote for based on your particular leanings. Instead, in an effort to weigh in on the dilemma between a progressive and moderate route, we endorse the progressive vision — we believe the progressive path is the one that promises the best future for Americans, and it’s the one we encourage all readers to take, regardless of whether that leads you to throw your support behind Sanders or Warren.