Monday, January 20, 2020

NYTimes Endorses Warren and Klobuchar

The New York Times has officially endorsed not one, but two candidates in the 2020 Democratic primary: Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Amy Klobuchar (MN). In essence, the Times' picked one candidate from the "moderate" lane and one candidate from the "progressive" lane, while suggesting that either one can and should be acceptable to any decent person seeking to defeat Trump.

The internet reaction, at least in my quarters of it, has been mostly disdainful. The NYT should have had the gumption to make an actual choice. Choosing two people was a cop out. Dismiss dismiss dismiss.

Most of this reaction has stemmed from more left-ward elements. And to be fair, on net the double-endorsement probably helps Klobuchar, who has struggled to gain traction, more than Warren. So it maybe isn't surprising that the left isn't wild about this choice, insofar as it probably does more to help an "establishment" candidate they dislike over a more progressive candidate they (well, some of "they") like or are at least fine with.

But I think there's another element in play here. Recent events notwithstanding, there remains some efforts on the left-side of the party to build a unified front along the axis of either Warren or Sanders, as against the "establishment" wing represented by Biden or Klobuchar. Key to their efforts is a strong distinction between these two wings, such that it is important to maintain progressive unity so we don't hand the nomination to a moderate because the left can't stop fighting amongst itself. This view is very much adverse to the sentiment, communicated by the Times, that all the Democrats (Klobuchar, Biden, Warren, Sanders ...) are fundamentally on the same side, so that we should all be content no matter which of them is picked. This aspect of the editorial is probably what got the most sustained mocking, at least in my feed.

It also is, as you probably know, a view I basically endorse, which is why the Times' double-endorsement didn't bother me all that much. I'm inclined to think that Warren is the best of the "progressive" wing, and Klobuchar probably the best of the "moderate" wing. There's a case to be made for nominating a progressive wing candidate, and a case for a moderate wing candidate, but if the nomination goes in the direction I disprefer I wouldn't view at as a betrayal. Either way, we'd still be getting a candidate who is more-or-less on my side.

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