Let me say right off the bat that I don’t think newspaper endorsements matter that much anymore. Given the proliferation of sources of information, I don’t think that support of a newspaper, even one that has such a wide reach as the New York Times, carries much impact. What such endorsements give us is a window into the thinking of the political establishment. So the endorsements tell us more about the newspaper’s interests than the virtues of the candidates. They say that there are two visions being put forward by the Democratic party, the realist and the radical and that Klobuchar represents the former and Warren the latter.
They claim that the endorsements followed a series of in-depth interviews with the leading candidates. There was never any chance that they would endorse Bernie Sanders though given that he is at or near the top of all the polls, they had to acknowledge his presence and influence on politics, even as they disparaged his candidacy.
Senator Sanders has spent nearly four decades advocating revolutionary change for a nation whose politics often move with glacial slowness. A career spent adjacent to the Democratic Party but not a part of it has allowed him to level trenchant criticism of a political party that often caters more to rich donors than to the middle class. Many of his ideas that were once labeled radical — like paid family leave, a higher minimum wage, universal health care and limits on military intervention — are now mainstream, and may attract voters who helped elect Mr. Trump in 2016.
Mr. Sanders would be 79 when he assumed office, and after an October heart attack, his health is a serious concern. Then, there’s how Mr. Sanders approaches politics. He boasts that compromise is anathema to him. Only his prescriptions can be the right ones, even though most are overly rigid, untested and divisive. He promises that once in office, a groundswell of support will emerge to push through his agenda. Three years into the Trump administration, we see little advantage to exchanging one over-promising, divisive figure in Washington for another.
They then make the extraordinary claim that “Good news, then, that Elizabeth Warren has emerged as a standard-bearer for the Democratic left” Really? She has undoubtedly adopted many progressive politics but to claim that she is the standard bearer of the left is absurd because Sanders clearly holds that title and has done so for a long time and especially since the 2016 campaign. What they are really saying is what I predicted last week, that if the progressive tide cannot be stopped, they want to channel it to a more establishment friendly candidate like Warren.
What must have stung for Joe Biden is that they did not endorse him but chose Amy Klobuchar as the clear establishment choice, telling Biden that “It is time for him to pass the torch to a new generation of political leaders.”
And here is a little bit of news showing how Sanders is the clear choice of the next generation of young black voters. Whether they can persuade their parents’ generation to switch from their loyalty to Biden remains to be seen.
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) January 18, 2020