On Sunday, the New York Times endorsed both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for president. Or at least to become the Democratic nominee. The endorsement comes at a time when Warren is trying to settle a high profile dispute with Bernie Sanders and Klobuchar is struggling to gain enough momentum to stay in the race.
The dual endorsement noted the internal debate raging within the Democratic Party over whether to support a candidate from the left flank of the party or one more in the center. Warren, they decided, is the best choice for those who prefer more abrupt change. What they really said was “Take Warren over Bernie Sanders.” People who believe in a more incremental approach should choose Klobuchar over her fellow centrists, most notably Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg.
Personally, I just want a candidate who can win. I like a lot of the policies espoused by Warren and Sanders. I believe we need to dramatically restructure our tax code to force the wealthiest among us to pay more of their fair share. I think we would be better off with a single-payer health care system. I think community college programs should be free since they are largely job training programs for corporate America.
That said, I’m not confident that enough Americans agree. Or if they agree generally, they would prefer a slower, more deliberate process to get there. I believe much of the country is more center right than center left. In particular, I think the people in the states Democrats need to win prefer an incremental approach more than a radical one.
I’m left believing that a more moderate candidate has a better chance of defeating Trump. I agree with the Times that Klobuchar would be the strongest match up against the president. She brings a record of winning broadly in a purple state. I vehemently disagree with the sentiment that a woman can’t win. In fact, I believe the exact opposite. A woman could win handily and would attract more of the swing voters Democrats need than a man with similar views.
I disagree with the assessment that Hillary Clinton lost because she was a moderate or that she’s a woman. She lost because she’s Hillary Clinton and much of America doesn’t trust her after 20 years of attacks by the right and more than a few self-inflicted wounds. Had almost any other moderate Democrat, man or woman, been the nominee in 2016, Donald Trump would have gotten crushed.
All of that said, I’m still undecided about who I’ll vote for in March. I want the Democrat I’m most confident can sustain a campaign and win. If Klobuchar comes out of the Iowa caucuses with a win or close to it and then has a strong showing in New Hampshire and Nevada, she may well be my pick. If Biden continues to solidify his support and African Americans stick with him, I may support him. If Warren fixes the problems that have plagued her campaign recently and enters Super Tuesday with a head of steam, I could see voting for her. Finally, if those three have collapsed, I could support Michael Bloomberg and his store-bought infrastructure. I have a hard time seeing Buttigieg still being competitive by Super Tuesday but if he is, I could see supporting him, too.
The only candidate I won’t support during the primary is Bernie Sanders. I’m confident that the language he uses scares the bejesus out of the voters Democrats need to win. They don’t want a revolution. They don’t want an avowed socialist. They want stability. However, I’ll support him if he’s the nominee because I believe Donald Trump is a threat to our democracy, our liberty and our standing in the world. And then I’ll prepare for an electoral defeat like we haven’t seen since Walter Mondale.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >