To the Editor:
On March 1 Virginia voters in the Democratic Presidential primary will choose between Senator Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Voters wanting a Democratic President should ask three
- Does the candidate have a vision and policies that reflect the direction I want to see our country go?
- Can the candidate win, not just the Presidency, but help Democrats pick up 4 seats needed to take back the Senate, narrow the 59 seat GOP majority in the House, and help Democrats at the state and local level.
- Can he/she do the full spectrum of the job: oversee and lead domestic and foreign policy, make progress with a divided government and serve as Commander in Chief?
Both candidates agree on need to reverse the concentration of power and income inequality, infrastructure investment, campaign finance reform, climate change, universal healthcare coverage, and support of women’s, voting, and gay rights; collectively a sharp contrast to Republican positions. Differences emerge on approach.
Two examples: financial regulation and healthcare. Senator Sanders’s proposal to “break up the big banks,” while emotionally satisfying, doesn’t go far enough. Unlike Secretary Clinton, he ignores that Dodd Frank contains tools to do just that, and is silent on corralling risk across all types of financial companies. His “Medicare for All” outline not only leaves serious questions unanswered, but is based on wildly optimistic assumptions of “savings” and taxes needed, not to mention the ‘gridlock” producing effect of a contentious debate about restructuring one seventh of the US economy. At the policy level, Sec Clinton is thorough, comprehensive, fiscally responsible, realistic and relentless. In terms of electability and ability to do the full job, those who have served with Senator Sanders over his 25 year congressional career, and know the challenge of governing, including the last 3 Democratic Governors of Vermont, his Vermont Senate colleague and the seven Senate Democratic incumbents up for reelection want her on the top of the ticket, as do 39 of the Senate’s Democrats. None have endorsed Sanders.
The selection of a President is far more than strong protest against economic injustice and a “rigged system”, but the selection of a leader who has been tested and can effectively defend and build on the progress we have made. Senator Sanders deserves our respect. Secretary Clinton has earned our vote.