Perhaps this is no surprise but what is surprising is the earliness of this endorsement, in the context of fewer and fewer newspapers making endorsements at all. Many newspapers increasingly seem to be afraid of alienating readers (and advertisers, too?) This endorsement brings up a central point, about how passing Medicare for All might not be possible unless the make up of the Senate changes dramatically.
This is a point that I would take even further, especially in discussing with people this gobbledygook about Bernie bringing in Socialism and that inevitably will then lead to Communism. The point worth mentioning as a campaign tactic is to remind folks that Presidents may have agendas, but that also the Congress has to go entirely along with that agenda, or accept it piecemeal. That system of checks and balances is one of the few redeeming graces of our nation.
Two elements come into play in the presidential primary, and we think both favor Sanders.
The first, of course, is beating Trump. We do not subscribe to the "Bernie or bust" theory, and in November, we will be endorsing and strongly supporting any Democrat who wins the nomination. But we are also convinced (as are many writers and political scientists, including Steve Phillips and Rachel Bitecofer), that there are only a tiny number of "swing voters" who might defect from Trump to a more moderate Democrat. This election will not be won on a cautious, centrist agenda. Hillary Clinton tried that; it didn't work.
The 2020 election will be about turnout, about inspiring voters, particularly young voters, to get out and go to the polls. Trump has his base, and it won't change. In the swing states, Trump won because so many Democrats either stayed home or voted for a third party.
We still believe that Sanders would have beat Trump if he were the 2016 nominee. And we think he has the best chance of energizing Democratic voters, creating a political movement, and defeating the incumbent.
He also has the best political positions of any of the candidates.
There are real differences between the two progressive front-runners, and they amount to this: Sanders thinks the political and economic systems of the US needs profound, fundamental change. Warren thinks most of the problems can be fixed with better regulation of the existing system. But Warren is talking seriously about a wealth tax, which the economist Thomas Piketty, who is probably the most important analyst and critic of modern capitalism in the world today, says is the only way to keep the current system from completely melting down with catastrophic consequences.
The reality is that, barring a radical change in Congress and the Senate over the next few years, Sanders isn't going to get a Medicare For All plan that eliminates the private insurance industry passed in his first term. But it's possible that he could start implementing a Green New Deal, and move the US into position as a nation leading the fight to save the Earth.
Warren might not get a wealth tax in her first term, either. But she would repeal the Trump tax cuts and the wholesale deregulation of industry that has damaged the economy and the environment.
Frankly, either one of them would be a transformative president.
And if no candidate emerges from the primaries with enough votes to win a first-ballot nomination at the convention, it's absolutely critical that the Sanders and Warren delegates realize that together, they can probably name the nominee and that, in the real world of Washington politics, they would both be sending the country in a much better direction. In a brokered convention, a fight over minor policy differences between the two camps could lead to a centrist nominee and Trump getting re-elected.
Today, right now, we think Sanders has the better chance of beating Trump. If that shifts, and Warren looks to be the stronger nominee, we would be thrilled to support her.