Why the Ideas Primary Matters

Why the Ideas Primary Matters

What’s important now is to hold the media accountable for reporting on the substance of the ideas fairly, not simply on the glitz and gossip of the campaigns.


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

What promises to be a fiercely contested 2020 Democratic presidential primary campaign has begun. Already too much of the reportage focuses on the horse race: who’s up and who’s down, who’s likable or electable, who’s sparring with whom, and who’s facing scandal. But what’s fascinating about this campaign—as Robert L. Borosage reports in The Nation this week—is that the primary may well feature a contest of ideas.

Democrats are, of course, looking for the candidate best suited to rout President Trump. Getting rid of him is necessary but not sufficient. Trump’s election was a byproduct of the failures of the establishments of both parties. As even Hillary Clinton acknowledged in her book on the 2016 campaign, Americans are looking for fundamental change, for “big bold ideas” that might actually deal with the challenges we face.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) electrified voters in 2016 not because of his “likability” or “electability” but because he credibly offered an agenda for fundamental change. His signature ideas—Medicare-for-all, a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free college, and more—are ever more popular. In gearing up for a likely run in 2020, Sanders has a new book and an expanded agenda, including a clear challenge to establishment views on foreign and military policy.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column <here< a=””>.</here<>


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