But Democratic Party supporters ought to be more cheered than dismayed at the surviving, robust slate of promising hopefuls, some of whom have confounded the experts by emerging from relative obscurity. Having more good choices than voters may have expected at this date isn’t a bad thing. Those eager for a nominee who is both progressive and pragmatic, who pairs bold policy with realistic politics, now have an opportunity to pick the woman or man they think is best suited to do the job of defeating President Trump — and then the job of governing.
Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg looks toward ambitious ends such as affordable college and affordable health care for all but outlines thoughtful means for getting there. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) eschews ideological flash points in favor of focusing on the areas she thinks everyday Americans care about, such as stronger infrastructure and lower prescription-drug costs. Mr. Buttigieg was barely even a recognizable name (much less a pronounceable one) when this race began, and Ms. Klobuchar was considered a long shot until voters finally got a chance to weigh in. Both have risen through hard work and substantive, mostly positive, campaigning.
Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, a billionaire, brings with him a get-it-done attitude paired with a record that suggests he has as much bite as bark. Former vice president Joe Biden continues to make a constructive case for consensus rather than settling on an us-vs.-them mentality. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts offers voters somewhat further to the left an argument for reforming the system from within instead of dreaming of an improbable “revolution.”
Voters’ frustration at not yet having reached consensus on a nominee is understandable. Many may also fear that a pile-up of the more pragmatic candidates could yield a slim and polarizing victory for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). But the race so far evinces the value in not knowing: Pundits insisted that Mr. Biden was the front-runner until pundits were no longer in charge, and Mr. Biden carried the mantle of the most electable candidate until comparatively few chose to elect him.
Only two states have voted so far, both of them relatively small and white. Now a broader swath of Americans has a chance to choose from a broad field of candidates — and to tell the party and prognosticators alike what they want, rather than the other way around.