In its February 8 issue, The Nation endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, trading the cool impartiality of the sidelines for the chance to engage, directly and with vigor, in one of the most consequential Democratic nominating contests in recent memory. Hailing the senator’s “audacious agenda,” we embraced his “clarion call for fundamental reform” and the transformative integrity of his people-powered campaign. The Vermont senator, we wrote, “has summoned the people to a ‘political revolution’”—and transformed the 2016 election in the process. “Bernie Sanders and his supporters are bending the arc of history toward justice,” we concluded. “Theirs is an insurgency, a possibility, and a dream that we proudly endorse.” (The endorsement first appeared on The Nation’s website on January 14.)
The Nation’s decision followed months of debate within its offices and in its pages, printed and virtual. As early as last June, Katha Pollitt penned the first of several forceful columns laying out the feminist case for backing Hillary Clinton. Then, just last month, socialist feminists Liza Featherstone and Suzanna Danuta Walters engaged in a crackling exchange over which candidate—Clinton or Sanders—deserves the progressive vote. Meanwhile, articles by Joan Walsh and D.D. Guttenplan tracked the progress of the two Democratic contenders’ respective teams from New Hampshire to Nevada. And John Nichols, who published one of the earliest interviews with Sanders about his presidential aspirations, provided a running commentary on the senator’s progressive populism.
Throughout, The Nation worked to kindle the kind of robust, high-octane dialogue that this rare primary of ideas so desperately deserves.
In the weeks since the endorsement was announced, we’ve been gratified to see that the conversation hasn’t slackened. If anything, the rapid-fire exchange of ideas has intensified as The Nation’s writers have countered and complicated the magazine’s declared position with their own sharp opinions.
“After 40 years of voting for male presidents, I’m supporting Hillary with excitement, even joy,” wrote The Nation’s national-affairs correspondent Joan Walsh in an article published online on January 27 (“Why I’m Supporting Hillary Clinton, With Joy and Without Apologies”). Saluting Clinton as “the right and even radical choice,” Walsh rejected “the larger message to Clinton supporters…that our demand for equal representation at the highest level of government at last, by a supremely qualified woman who is thoroughly progressive if not a socialist, must sadly wait. Again.”