Local Commentary

Editorial: We Endorse Pete Buttigieg

In the Virginia Democratic primary next Tuesday, we endorse Pete Buttigieg.

Next Tuesday is “Super Tuesday” when millions of votes in 14 states will be cast and the first clear sense of how the Democratic vote is trending will result. Between now and then, the South Carolina primary that occurs this Saturday could color how next Tuesday goes. The net result of outcomes in three small states so far, resulting in Bernie Sanders as the “front runner,” will be dwarfed by the flood of votes in the coming week.

It is vitally important who the Democrats will select as their choice to go up against Trump this November. From an original field of some two dozen, the options have narrowed to about a half dozen, though more will technically be on the Virginia ballot Tuesday. Who would have predicted three months ago the remaining viable candidates by now? In addition to Sanders, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Mike Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren and Buttigieg now constitute a short list of viable options. Interestingly, a new poll by the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College shows all of them defeating Trump in Virginia by six to nine percentage points.

This leaves us to consider which of these candidates is not the “most electable,” since it appears all may be, at least in Virginia, although “electability” goes more to how well the Democrats can get their own base activated (rather than draw from the other side). It is more a matter of which one represents best the direction voters hope to see the party, and the nation, heading as of next November. Who best represents the vision of the future they hope to see? An important collateral aspect of this is which candidate will best help, or potentially hinder, the “down ticket” Democrats also on the ballot. In Virginia, Sanders represents a serious concern in this regard.

As with the election of Barack Obama in 2008 which was achieved by overcoming “electability” concerns with a positive vision for the kind of America we want to see, and allowing that to generate a groundswell of new, young voters to take America in that new direction, we see the best choice for leading this process in 2020 is the young, incredibly intelligent, articulate and brave Mr. Buttigieg, a proud gay man who will spur the kind of excitement and broadening ranks of optimistic Americans to take their nation to the next level of cultural healing, opportunity, inclusiveness, progressive solutions and hopefulness for all.

It is a given to us that whomever the Democratic nominee will be to face Trump in the fall will have our full support and hopefully win. Now, however, as we still have choices among a half-dozen candidates, to us there is none finer as a representation of everything we hope the nation will become than Mr. Buttigieg.