No viable Democratic candidate will share my ideas on economics, health care, education, or abortion. That’s a given and, in the primaries, removes these topics from my calculation. The first two also happen to be areas where I’m most pessimistic about my preferences becoming fact. I can’t imagine a scenario in which Washington becomes fiscally continent, and I’m fairly sure Medicare-for-all is a fait accompli.
Foreign policy is where there’s a more meaningful diversity among the candidates as well as a small but real chance for change. That’s where Sanders gets me, especially because the president has unilateral power to end our endless wars. (The Constitution limits executive authority to start wars but not to make peace.)
To be fair, I’ve criticized Sanders for being insufficiently anti-war in the past, and I reiterate those objections: If elected, he says he would retain the drone warfare program (though he has since emphasized intent to curtail its use). He voted in favor of 2016 rival Hillary Clinton’s pet intervention in Libya, in favor of the interminable war in Afghanistan, and even in favor of multiple funding measures to maintain the war in Iraq — a repeated “yes” to bankrolling the very conflict he so often boasts of opposing. Moreover, Sanders and I do not come by our opposition to military interventionism the same way — his is partly informed by sympathies for communist regimes like Cuba’s, which I deplore — and he sees a vindication in coalition-backed wars which I do not.