The Edwards Legacy

A week ago, John Edwards ended his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. Although it’s unfortunate that he is out of the running, he succeeded in shifting the race onto a more progressive track. His campaign pinned-down the two leading candidates in favour of implementing universal healthcare, raising the minimum wage, providing economic stimulus, getting out of Iraq, and re-evaluating international trade deals. The following excerpt is from an interview with Joe Trippi, an Edwards campaign manager.

There’s no doubt the progressive agenda was moved forward in a big way by John Edwards and the campaign. I worry about what would have happened had he not been in. The Clintons might not have proposed a health care plan, because they didn’t want the details to be knocked around by an opponent. That’s a fact. That’s what she was saying in the early stages. He put a universal health care plan out there first; he was the first one, really, with a stimulus plan; with a strong global warming policy, you name it; including pushing her on the war initially when no one would take her on on it. Just about every point, any issue that mattered. Both candidates–Obama and Clinton–were pushed to take stronger progressive positions than either was likely to take.

Listen to both of them now. Talking about how we have to take on entrenched interests and corporate greed. Even the rhetoric has been affected. I’ve learned a long time ago that often, as disappointing as it is to lose, a losing candidacy can have a much bigger impact on the party, the future of the country, the direction of where things are going.

UPDATE (Feb. 11): Thomas Palley and Ron Blackwell have outlined the agenda to which Obama and Clinton should commit in order to win the Edwards vote.

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