Sanders and Warren Are Widening the Democratic Party’s Left Lane

Sanders and Warren Are Widening the Democratic Party’s Left Lane

Sanders and Warren Are Widening the Democratic Party’s Left Lane

They’ve dominated the discourse and upended our traditional politics.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

Early in the presidential race, many political analysts were eager to write off the two most progressive candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had taken the party establishment by surprise in 2016, they argued, but he wouldn’t be able to replicate his success in a more crowded field. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) had policy chops, they conceded, but that wouldn’t help her catch fire with voters who were most concerned with who could beat President Trump.

Those predictions have been proved wrong. Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate in Ohio will feature former vice president Joe Biden in his usual position at center stage, mirroring his place in the center lane of the nomination contest. He will be flanked by Sanders and Warren, who have emerged as his top two rivals for the nomination (with Warren now arguably the front-runner). And they will be competing in a race that, as my Nation colleague D.D. Guttenplan argues, is “dramatically widening the entire left lane of American politics.”

Sanders and Warren are upending the traditional downsized politics of excluded alternatives. Their support for policies such as Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, a wealth tax, student debt cancellation has expanded widely held notions of what is possible. These ideas have been not just mentioned in the mainstream debate; thanks to Sanders’s and Warren’s courage and clarity of vision, they have dominated the discourse. This has often left the rest of the field flailing to defend tired centrist policies or, in some cases, scrambling to move left in an attempt to keep up.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

Dear reader,

I hope you enjoyed the article you just read. It’s just one of the many deeply reported and boundary-pushing stories we publish every day at The Nation. In a time of continued erosion of our fundamental rights and urgent global struggles for peace, independent journalism is now more vital than ever.

As a Nation reader, you are likely an engaged progressive who is passionate about bold ideas. I know I can count on you to help sustain our mission-driven journalism.

This month, we’re kicking off an ambitious Summer Fundraising Campaign with the goal of raising $15,000. With your support, we can continue to produce the hard-hitting journalism you rely on to cut through the noise of conservative, corporate media. Please, donate today.

A better world is out there—and we need your support to reach it.


Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

Ad Policy