Klobuchar, Biden are the best-suited candidates for president

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Joe Biden (left) and Amy Klobuchar

Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 | 2 a.m.

Democrats may be divided along moderate-progressive ideological lines and disagree strongly about various candidates’ stances on such passion issues as health care and immigration, but one matter brings them together.

As shown by poll after poll, the vast majority of Democratic voters identify the main issue this year as defeating President Donald Trump and saving our nation from an autocrat.

Caucus information

• Date: Saturday, February 22

• Time: Check-in begins at 10 a.m.; caucusing starts at noon

• Place: Visit nvdems.com/2020-caucus and type in your address to find your caucus day site.

• Early voting: February 15-18.

We agree, which is why we’re endorsing Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Vice President Joe Biden in the upcoming Nevada caucuses.

We’re confident each of these candidates can defeat the divisive and destructive incumbent in November, which is why we’re making a rare two-candidate endorsement.

In recent weeks, the editorial board of the Las Vegas Sun invited the top Democratic candidates for in-depth interviews examining their platforms. Four of the remaining candidates spoke with us — Biden, Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer — while Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders did not make themselves available despite numerous requests.

Based on our interviews and our subsequent research on Warren and Sanders, we concluded that Klobuchar and Biden are the strongest candidates in what is overall a very capable field.

In our interview with Klobuchar, it was easy to understand why she has picked up powerful momentum in recent weeks. She is a sincere and results-oriented leader who, to her credit, shows an understanding of the issues that matter most to voters at the household level while also showing an acute understanding of how our system should work for the people.

Her vision is that of a presidency working across party lines to solve problems, as opposed to pursuing policies that could further polarize the nation. In her pragmatic approach, politically unfeasible initiatives like Medicare for All and 100% free college are non-starters — they would go nowhere in Congress and are unpopular even among some Democratic voters.

She also demonstrates that in her 14 years in the Senate, she learned how to work with Republicans and help steer legislation through the process. Other candidates may support comprehensive immigration reform; Klobuchar can discuss in detail why she’s confident she can pass a reform package today given her experience advocating for the Senate’s 2013 comprehensive bill.

Admirably, Klobuchar also places an intense focus on the working class, not only in her economic policy but in her initiatives for immigration, health care and education. For instance, this granddaughter of an immigrant miner argues compellingly that the dialogue around immigration reform should be more about the impact on economy and jobs than on deportation and restrictions. She makes an excellent case that by crafting smart policies that meet workforce needs while balancing security, Americans at all levels of the economy will benefit.

Refreshingly, she also knows exactly how to pay for her initiatives and would take a trustworthy, incremental approach that offers enormous appeal.

The bottom line with Klobuchar: She possesses both the appetite and ability to return us to our finest America. We have no doubt that she is a unity candidate for the Democrats.

Biden gets our co-endorsement based on his suite of effective policies that offer a clear vision for America, his support among a broad coalition of voters and his ability to pull together a high-functioning leadership team that can guide this nation back to stability and respect.

Despite the GOP’s corrupt attempts to dirty up the former vice president (to Republicans’ enduring shame), he has opened himself to public scrutiny throughout his five-decade career in office and faced the criticisms that unfailingly come with it.

Do we agree with everything he has done? Hardly. But Biden embodies the spirit of public service we need now. The damage Trump and the GOP leadership have done to the core tenets of our country’s democracy is incalculable and must be stopped.

We remain puzzled at why Biden is not a more effective salesperson for his own policies. A close read of his policy papers makes it abundantly evident there is a genuine vision for a good and prosperous America there. Biden just struggles to express it to voters. And we also dislike his tendency to be brutal with voters who ask questions he doesn’t like: There is no reason to shame people for asking a question. Just answer it.

Nonetheless, a Biden administration would clearly be up to the task of repairing the wreckage caused by the GOP. With his decades of experience in government and his support from the Democratic Party establishment, he can effortlessly assemble a strong Cabinet of genuine leaders and knows how to govern from Day One.

Either he or Klobuchar would be a strong choice for Nevada Democrats.

That said, this was not an easy decision for us and not one we arrived at without second thoughts.

The field has several candidates who can clearly beat Trump, and each offers their own appeal for a variety of reasons.

Tom Steyer is a candidate no one should discount. He has an almost evangelical zeal in his quest to turn America into a moral nation — after years of Trump’s immorality — and what Steyer lacks in governing experience he makes up for in pure vision. There is a kind of affable nobility to Steyer’s drive that we find emotionally resonant. Here stands a profoundly good man, running for the highest office in the land. America deserves leaders like Klobuchar or Steyer.

The nation also deserves a leader like Elizabeth Warren, who is certainly the blazing intellect of the field. We are not a fan of Medicare for All as she’s laid it out because we believe people need choice, and we regret her decision not to sit for an interview. However, we believe she is the wise choice for voters who find themselves on the more progressive end of the Democratic spectrum.

Lastly, there are two opposite ends of the coin: Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders. Buttigieg has all the right values in place, and appeals with his intellect and his pragmatic sensibilities.

The only question is whether he should be running this year or in 2024, given that his only government experience is as a small-town mayor. Compared with Klobuchar or Biden, his policies in some places simply aren’t quite as well-formed and comprehensive, nor can he explain in the same depth how he would work through Republican opposition to pass his initiatives.

Make no mistake, however, we think he will eventually make a great president. In the meantime, he’ll be amazing in someone’s Cabinet while he learns.

Sanders is the only clear nonstarter. It’s impossible not to regard the Vermont senator in a Trump-like mold — he seldom has shown an ability to build consensus and threatens to use executive orders extensively, just like Trump. It’s also doubtful he could assemble a highly qualified Cabinet, meaning he’d essentially be the left wing version of Trump: isolated, angry, unable to work with others and showing too little respect for dissenting opinions. A Sanders nomination simply guarantees a Trump second term.

Klobuchar and Biden, on the other hand, both offer a coalition-based approach to leadership, along with abundant experience building across-the-aisle support.

With the nation desperately in need of a president who can restore our values and be a leader for all Americans, not just those who support him, the two are the best suited candidates.

We urge Nevadans to caucus for either one of them.

Editor’s note: The caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 22, but early voting will be available Saturday through Tuesday at locations throughout the Las Vegas Valley. For a list of early voting sites, click here.