As the chaos and confusion lifts, the Iowa results are dribbling in, and they are clarifying. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg stand atop the Democratic presidential field, pointing the party in divergent directions.
The septuagenarian self-described democratic socialist senator wants a sweeping transformation of the federal government aided by up to $60 trillion in new spending. The 38-year-old small-city ex-mayor offers himself as a unifying figure ready to forge bipartisan solutions and heal the open wound left by Donald Trump.
One echelon below those two were Elizabeth Warren, a more pragmatic revolutionary than Sanders, and limping Joe Biden, who dangles a return to Obama-esque normalcy. In national polls, the Sanders-Warren wing nets about 42% of the party’s support; the wing represented by Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Mike Bloomberg adds up to about the same.
Democrats’ top priority, and ours, is ousting President Donald Trump in November. He is unstable and dishonest, corrupt and vindictive. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. He rages at constitutional limits on presidential power. He is obsessed with settling scores against his enemies and throwing chum to his base.
Putting Sanders atop the ticket would make the task supremely difficult.
Sanders is an unabashed socialist. This may enthrall young voters, but the label is almost certain to be a cinder block around his ankles in a general election, especially with independent and moderate voters who tend to make the difference in critical states.
The price tag of his policy prescriptions is one huge problem. Their uniform far-left ideological rigidity — he wants to decriminalize crossing the border, eliminate ICE, radically increase the federal role in energy production and ban all fracking, including in states where it employs thousands — is another.
His struggles to explain how his proposals would work, as evidenced in a 2016 New York Daily News editorial board interview, is another.
Even those who believe in single-payer health care should be wise enough to worry about trying to make such a tough sell in a general election; 86% of Americans with insurance rate their coverage positively. And a supermajority now favors a public option the likes of which Buttigieg, Biden, Klobuchar and Bloomberg propose.
But wait, there’s more. Sanders plays footsie with the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel; in 2016, his allies pressured the Democratic Party to abandon in its platform its historic stand with the Jewish state.
Democratic voting has just begun. Next up is New Hampshire, then Nevada, South Carolina and shortly thereafter, 14 states on Super Tuesday in early March.
If you don’t want Trump to be president until 2025, please, please, please, please, please, please choose wisely.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS