If like me you’re a longtime and faithful reader of The Nation — a venerable publication celebrating its 150th anniversary — then you probably saw its recent cover editorial endorsing Bernie Sanders for president. That lengthy essay, along with many other Nation articles over the past several months, leaves the unmistakable impression that Sanders is the only truly progressive choice for Democratic voters.
Yet just a month ago, The Nation published its 2015 Progressive Honor Roll, an annual feature written by John Nichols, who happens to be a highly enthusiastic Sanders supporter — which named several strong supporters of Hillary Clinton among America’s “most valuable” progressives. In fact, of the individuals named on Nichols’ list, nearly every single one is backing Clinton (one exception is Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, “most valuable Cabinet member,” who must observe administration neutrality in the primary but — as a former top Clinton administration official — would very likely endorse her).
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), named “most valuable Senator,” officially endorsed Clinton back in January 2014. Rosa DeLauro, “most valuable House member,” endorsed her last April. Pam Jochum, the Dubuque Democrat who presides over the Iowa State Senate — chosen from hundreds of local pols across the country as “most valuable state legislator” — announced her support for Clinton last October. Cecile Richards, the Planned Parenthood president named “most valuable activist,” led her organization to back Clinton earlier this month (and earned a sour-grapes dismissal by Sanders as “the establishment”). Newark’s Ras Baraka, the “most valuable mayor,” hasn’t officially endorsed a presidential candidate yet, but his political organization has shown every sign of backing Clinton since last summer. And “most valuable memoir” author Gloria Steinem, the great feminist leader and thinker, will campaign for Clinton in New Hampshire tomorrow.
As voting approaches, primary rhetoric gets super-hot, and partisans inevitably utter silly, uninformed, and even offensive remarks about the opposing candidate. But it is worth remembering that progressives can differ honestly over which of these two candidates will represent the nation’s real interests most effectively.
Photo: Hillary Clinton, not Bernie Sanders, is getting most of the high-profile progressive endorsements.