As the chaos and confusion lifted, the Iowa results dribbled in, and they were clarifying. 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 President 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, Biden, Amy Klobuchar and Mike Bloomberg adds up to about the same.
Democrats’ top priority, and ours, is ousting 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 will make the task supremely difficult. He 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.
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, choose wisely.