Move Forward With Bernie Sanders, the Quad-City Times Urges as Iowa Is Too Close to Call


Political junkies like myself were waiting anxiously as the final Des Moines Register Iowa caucus poll was announced this afternoon. The poll is widely respected as having the best grasp on the hard-to-predict Iowa caucus.

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump leads the Republican field, although Ted Cruz is in striking distance of 5 points. I fully expect Trump to secure the GOP nomination as there doesn’t seem to be anything he can do to hurt his standing, from mocking someone with a disability to making racist statements to joking that he can even get away to shooting somebody to skipping the last Fox News debate. Also, not surprising, the Democratic race is too-close to call, with frontrunner Hillary Clinton eking out a 3-point lead 45-42 over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Turnout, turnout, turnout

Turnout is gonna be key for both parties as both Trump and Sanders are heavily favored by first-time caucus goers. If there is a big turnout, something remotely similar to the 2008 wave that carried Barack Obama to victory, we can expect a Sanders victory speech preceded by a little Simon and Garfunkel. If the 2016 Democratic electorate is just the run-of-the-mill, usual voting bloc, then the establishment wins, not only Iowa, but probably the nomination, and we all brace ourselves that further email scandals or new revelations of a Bill Clinton sex scandal doesn’t swing the presidency to Donald J. Trump.

As political pundits were waiting on the Register’s poll, the Quad-City Times released their endorsement, urging Democrats to caucus for Senator Sanders. Most major newspapers will certainly endorse Clinton, the establishment favorite, and newspaper endorsements are less valuable each and everyday, but this endorsement very articulately sums up what many of us Sanders supporters are feeling–that Sanders is a continuation of the “hope and change” of the Barack Obama campaign while Hillary Clinton is the Washington status quo of the Obama Administration.

The Obama Administration has been okay, for many of us, and a continuation of gridlock and incremental change is better than taking steps backward, but we can do better. We are still believing in a campaign that believes in “Yes We Can” (or “Bern it Up“) and reject a campaign of “Never, Ever“.

Good judgment trumps experience

I have some good friends and many people that I respect endorsing Hillary Clinton. These good folks usual rely upon Clinton’s experience, I just respectfully disagree that her experience shows that she would be the right president to win this general election and to lead our country.

While much is made of Hillary Clinton’s experience, the Quad-City Times Editorial Board rightfully brings up recent issues where Senator Sanders was on the right side of history while Clinton was on the wrong side: the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act and the Wall Street bailout. For good measure, the paper could also have mentioned Clinton’s flip flops on marriage equality, the Keystone XL pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, all issues that Sanders has consistently been in line with progressive values and the base of the Democratic Party.

More from the Quad-City Times endorsement:

Clinton told us she can get things done, thanks to relationships built with Republicans. Sanders, she argues, can’t, because his rhetoric is too extreme. However, a Clinton presidency would likely mirror that of President Barack Obama. Democrats aren’t taking back the House anytime soon. Clobbering the Clintons has been the pastime of House Republicans for decades. Gridlock is the only result of years of disdain, mistrust and wasteful congressional investigations.


In 2008, voters rejected Clinton for what they thought was a new era of political discourse. Obama has had his moments, for sure. But his supporters didn’t get the new-century paradigm shift they desired. The corporatism persisted. Special interests and the wealthy continue to own Washington. Clinton is incapable of changing that. She’s just too plugged in.

If the Democratic Party is to move forward, it must abandon its compromised policy and differentiate itself come November. Only Sanders can accomplish that goal.

There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton has experience, but Bernie Sanders has demonstrated better judgment, not just on social issues, but also on the biggest foreign policy vote of our time. Like Sen. Sanders has stated, Dick Cheney has plenty of experience as well. Judgement matters and Sen. Sanders has been on the right side of history on a whole host of issues and actually has plenty of experience himself, even as an executive, something that Hillary Clinton doesn’t have.

Yes, Bernie Sanders lacks the foreign policy experience of Clinton as it is hard to compete with a former Secretary of State, but what good is experience when you support quagmires in the Middle East that have destabilized our globe and created terrorist groups like ISIS? Hillary Clinton’s hawkish foreign policy, to the right of President Obama, should definitely give anti-war voters pause.

Let’s give change another shot, folks

Hopefully, Iowa caucus goers will choose the candidate who has demonstrated better judgement on domestic policy, civil rights, criminal justice and matters of war and peace. Iowa voters gave us hope eight years ago, here’s hoping that they don’t settle for the status quo in 2016. Hopefully, Hawkeye voters give us another shot at true change, from ending cannabis prohibition to providing healthcare for all to avoiding another ill-fated Middle Eastern quagmire.


Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.