On Monday the first official leg of the presidential nomination process took place in the Iowa caucuses. As results came in throughout the night, the Democratic race was as close of a nail-biter as can be imagined. At the time of this writing, Hillary Clinton maintains an extremely slim lead of less than half a percent over Bernie Sanders. Whatever the outcome this showing is undeniably a boost to Sanders’s momentum, making it clear he’s got a shot at winning the nomination overall.
With an intense race still to be run, a narrative has been forming over the last couple months. It holds that Hillary Clinton is the pragmatic, sensible choice for Democrats – a centrist with the political clout to make moderate changes. Sanders, meanwhile, is a naïve idealist proposing lofty, transformational reforms that will never see the light of reality. Better, then, that voters choose Clinton.
There’s a subtext in this analysis that often goes unspoken: It’s as though everyone who believes it is saying, “Sure, we would like to see Bernie’s policies implemented, but we just know it can’t happen.” For a presidential candidate especially, this is a depressingly cynical tack to take, and certainly no example of strong leadership. Continue reading