The world will be watching when New Hampshire voters go to the polls Tuesday to choose their preference for the Democratic and Republican nominees for president.
After months of opinion polls, town hall-style meetings and a nonstop onslaught of political commercials, Granite Staters will, finally, take part in the only poll that matters.
There are 50 names listed on the two ballots — 33 Democrats and 17 Republicans — and by now the leading names are probably familiar to most voters.
With that many candidates on the ballot, it should come as no surprise they offer up a broad range of solutions to the problems that bedevil our country — the lack of middle-class wage growth, climate change, health care, opioids, outrageous prescription drug prices, immigration, gun violence and others.
We are fortunate to live in a time when so many high-quality candidates have come forward to offer their leadership, though if we learned anything from the 2016 election, it's that a large field doesn’t always sugar off to produce a top-notch president.
But there are things we like about each of the major Democratic candidates. A sampling:
Pete Buttigieg — The former Indiana mayor is a veteran with no Washington experience — which many people may see as a plus — and his nuanced answers on virtually every subject demonstrate that he’s always the smartest person in any room he’s in. He’s young (just 38), openly gay, strong in his faith, and, most of all, authentic.
Bernie Sanders — You may disagree with his stands on policies like Medicare for All and free college tuition, but there’s no denying his conviction when the Vermont senator talks about how money from the pharmaceutical industry and others has corrupted our political process through a system he likens to legal bribery. He puts the “candid” in “candidate.”
Elizabeth Warren — The Massachusetts senator is fearless and whip-smart. She has long championed the idea of breaking up the big investment banks that nearly crashed the country’s economy in 2008, and Wall Street would rather not find out if her bite is as bad as her bark. Speaking of which, when she was stuck in Washington for the president’s impeachment trial, she sent her dog, Bailey, to campaign in her stead in Iowa, settling the surrogate battle. Like Sanders, most of her campaign cash comes from small donors.
Joe Biden — He has firsthand White House experience as Barack Obama’s vice president and decades of policy experience from his time in the Senate to back up his ideas and policies. His is a trusted voice at a time of divisiveness and his experience on the world stage — he was once the Senate’s leading voice on foreign policy — is a plus.
Amy Klobuchar — Smart Midwestern moderate who takes a common-sense approach to policies and bills herself as the candidate most able to work with Republicans and defeat Donald Trump in November. The Minnesota senator has a record of legislative accomplishment and could run strong in swing states that appear key to the presidential race. She also picked up most of the newspaper endorsements in New Hampshire, for what that’s worth.
Tulsi Gabbard — She is a veteran who has made the case that the billions of dollars we spend on what she calls “regime change” wars would be better spent at home on things like education, health care and infrastructure. Hard to argue with that.
Andrew Yang — The most technology-savvy, out-of-the-box thinker in the field. His universal-income plan to give every American $1,000 a month has attracted much attention, but he also has a forward-thinking agenda that takes in the workforce disruption promised by artificial intelligence and automation.
Tom Steyer — The man has poured millions of his own money into his campaign, focusing on climate change above all other issues, but he also makes a persuasive and even emotional case about people who have been left behind, even as the nation has undergone economic growth.
Michael Bennet — The Colorado senator has gained virtually no traction in polls, but chugs along like The Little Engine That Could.
This is also a good time to lament that sens. Corey Booker and Kamala Harris have ended their campaigns, though both will be on the ballot. Booker and Harris were impressive candidates and the country would be well-served if either or both decided to run again in the future.
One of the things all of those candidates have in common, besides being Democrats, is that they all believe that the rule of law should still hold sway in America.
Republicans also have choices. There is, of course, President Trump, but former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld is also in the GOP field and he is a man of demonstrated integrity, for those looking for an alternative to the incumbent.
Finally, regardless of which candidate strikes your fancy, we urge you to get to the polls and vote on Tuesday. It’s a privilege millions of people in the world never get to exercise.