In 2008, Barack Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination arguably based on a single policy position that distinguished him from his chief rival: his opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq from its outset. Twelve years later, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont could conceivably capture the party’s nomination because of that same stance on that same war.
At tonight’s Democratic debate, in Iowa, Sanders had his best chance yet to remind progressive primary voters that on the most consequential foreign-policy decision of the 21st century, he stood alone among the six candidates onstage in clearly opposing the Iraq War.
“I not only voted against that war; I helped lead the effort against that war,” the senator from Vermont said in the opening moments of the debate. Sanders proceeded to tout his efforts to restrain President Donald Trump’s ability to lead the U.S. into another Middle East war, this time with Iran, and he seized an opening to contrast his record on Iraq with former Vice President Joe Biden, who in 2002 voted to give President George W. Bush the authorization he needed to start the conflict.
“I did everything I could to prevent that war. Joe saw it differently,” Sanders said.