Editorial: The Daily Iowan Editorial Board endorses Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination

The senator is the best candidate with his proven record, consistent honesty, and progressive vision for the country.


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Over the campaign of the last year, more than 20 candidates seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination for president have courted Iowans. As members of the Daily Iowan Editorial Board, we each had plenty of opportunities to see these presidential hopefuls, taking note as to which candidate we would choose to endorse for the caucuses on Feb. 3.

After considerable deliberation and debate, our choice became unanimous.

The Editorial Board endorses Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont.

Young people will especially benefit from the Sanders platform.

Sanders far outpaces other candidates in virtually every opinion poll among students. This is with good reason as many of his policies would directly help a generation burdened by the horrors of climate change, the weight of college student-loan debt, and a corrupt economy that has consolidated wealth out of the reach of our generation.

The climate crisis is the defining issue of this century. For the rest of our lives, we will face rising global temperatures and related consequences. While all the Democratic candidates have acknowledged the need for action, Sanders will do the most to substantially fight climate change by pursuing the Green New Deal, a revolutionary slate of environmental and economic reforms.

The Green New Deal is a comprehensive plan to rapidly and responsively shift our country to a more sustainable future. It is not only about the end to burning fossil fuels, the largest contributor to climate change. It also focuses on a just transition for workers in the most affected industries. Investments in agriculture, transportation, and renewable energy are also central to this plan and will create good-paying jobs for Americans.

Sanders’ moral perspective is woven through all the policies he espouses.”

Another major part of Sanders’ platform is universal tuition-free public college. The cost of attending state universities has far outpaced the rate of inflation, but an undergraduate degree remains professionally requisite for a large majority of our generation. Many of us need to attend college to be successful in pursuing our desired career path. However, most of us will spend decades in debt to pay off our tuition.

Other Democratic candidates, namely Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, also understand this problem, but only Sanders maintains higher education as a universal right. In the same way everyone in our prosperous nation deserves a K-12 education, every American should have access to a college education if they want it. It makes good economic sense — as relieving millions from debt will free up resources to be spent elsewhere — and it’s the ethical thing to do.

Sanders’ moral perspective is woven through all the policies he espouses. This includes what is perhaps his signature issue: wealth inequality. Railing against “the top 1 percent” and “the billionaires” are hallmarks of the senator, who identifies as a democratic socialist. Requiring the ultra-wealthy pay more in taxes, their fair share, is key to funding many of Sanders’ proposals.

Again, it’s young people who stand to benefit most from an equitable tax code. Over the course of decades, American wealth has become concentrated in upper age brackets. Lots of young people, like us, have to work multiple jobs just to get by. We can’t afford to buy a home, pay off our aforementioned tuition debt, or achieve our American Dreams. It’s time to balance the scales.

Point by point, issue by issue, students need Sanders as the head of government.

Sanders has universally commendable character and principles.

Regardless of one’s opinion on his worldview or individual policy stances, Sanders’ authenticity is unassailable.

His integrity is steadfast, even when maintaining his candor has the potential to be politically damaging. His proposal to create a single-payer health-care program, known as Medicare for All, has drawn widespread criticism because it would raise taxes on the majority of Americans. Sanders doesn’t shy away from that fact. He defends himself articulately, without avoidance or denial.

Straightforward honesty is a rare quality in politicians, and even rarer in presidents. Sanders evokes the moral clarity of historical leaders such as the late Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, and like them, he belongs in the Oval Office.

His integrity is steadfast, even when maintaining his candor has the potential to be politically damaging.”

His political energy inspires young Americans. His ideas fuel progression of social vision and potential for revolutionary legislation. Any American can trust the authenticity of the senator’s views, even if they don’t always agree with his positions.

Sanders is not simply the best Democratic candidate for president, he’s the most small-d democratic candidate. He aims to take power from the top of our political and societal elites and push power down to the people. These are not the ideas of a fringe, unelectable New Englander. He has built a genuine grassroots coalition that spans across state borders, race, gender, and class.

As for his own identity, a win in the general election would make Sanders our country’s first Jewish president. With rising anti-Semitic threats and attacks both domestically and globally, a descendent of Holocaust victims is uniquely qualified to lead a force for good.

We comprehensively considered several candidates. 

At the start of our endorsement process, we decided to narrow the field of candidates to those who had qualified for either the most recent Democratic debate in Des Moines or the upcoming debate in New Hampshire. We analyzed each candidate on the viability of their candidacy through two primary lenses: campaign platform and personal merit.

Within these lenses, we examined the strength of their legislative agendas, influence on social justice, personal relatability, and political consistency.

After analysis on each candidate, we agreed to eliminate Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, and billionaire Tom Steyer largely on the grounds of their lacking in polling results. Each have consistently remained in the single digits in both Iowa and national surveys.

We discussed as a board how Klobuchar, Yang, and Steyer’s campaigns are lacking in widespread influence and well-defined legislative platforms. Yang and Steyer both have progressive ideas regarding economic and electoral reform, but their professional records are without sufficient government experience. This reasonably casts doubt on their potentialities as a chief executive.

The future of America will be best served by Sanders’ platform, and his character stands atop the primary field.”

We also ruled out former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is severely lagging in support among black Americans. We believe that, especially in the Democratic Party, the nominee must be able to build a coalition that actively represents the entirety of the country. Buttigieg’s lack of success in engaging with these communities makes him weak as a representative for the public.

The three remaining candidates — Sanders, Warren, and former Vice President Joe Biden — hold distinction for their popularity, as well as their personal histories.

All three each have been active figures in the American political landscape for meaningful lengths of time. Their efforts to further civil rights and economic progress are remarkable. All three have served on the U.S. Senate, and Biden spent eight years as  vice president in the Obama administration.

With personality and policy taken together, we concluded Sanders is the superior candidate. The future of America will be best served by Sanders’ platform, and his character stands atop the primary field.

Sanders is the candidate for all of us.

All of these themes are summarized in the principal slogan of the Sanders campaign: “Not me. Us.”

His honesty and character is not for his own glorification, but to create a more fair society for everyone. His policy stances are not designed to make him look the most radical, clever, or “woke.” Rather, they’re designed to elevate the lowest and least fortunate. His wide-reaching coalition of Americans not only shows his ability to bring people together, but embodies the universality of Sanders message.

His presidential campaign is not for himself, the Democratic Party, or any sole individual or group. It’s for us.

Editorials reflect the majority opinion of the DI Editorial Board and not the opinion of the Publisher, Student Publications Inc., or the University of Iowa.

Editorial board members are Marissa PayneBrooklyn DraiseyElijah Helton, Becca Bright, and Jason O’Day


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