2016 Virginia presidential primaries

2/26/2016, 7:58 a.m.

Tuesday, March 1, is a red-letter day in Virginia. It is the day that voters across the Commonwealth can go to the polls and select their preference for a Democratic or Republican nominee for president.

Both major political parties are holding primaries on the same day. And voters must choose whether they want to cast a ballot in the Democratic primary or the Republican primary. They cannot vote in both.

Your vote will help allocate delegates to the national conventions, where each party will choose who will run under their banner in the November presidential election. The Democratic National Convention will take place July 25 through 28 in Philadelphia; the Republican National Convention will be held July 18 through 21 in Cleveland.

In 2008, President Obama ran on the campaign mantra, “Change we can believe in.” In 2012, his re-election slogan was “Forward.” In 2016, we are not there yet. An obstructionist GOP Congress has blocked the path of progress.

So now we are looking for the candidate with the vision, energy and ability to motivate and move the nation ahead on the next four-year leg of the journey.

Our choice: Anybody but one of the Republicans.

Already, we have witnessed a slugfest by a string of Republican candidates, all of whom are disappointing in their positions that hold no promise for progress for this nation or its citizens. Of the 13 GOP candidates certified to be on the Virginia ballot by the state Department of Elections, only five are left. Their shrill stances and mean-spirited platforms would do little to improve the lives of the Free Press readership.

We believe a vote cast in the Republican primary would be a wasted vote because none of the GOP candidates are offering meaningful uplift for the African-American community.

Therefore, we urge our readers to use their votes to select one of the two Democratic candidates in this presidential nomination battle ‑— Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

Both support raising the federal minimum wage – she says $12 per hour; he says $15 per hour.

Both support equal pay for women; higher taxes on the nation’s wealthiest citizens; universal pre-kindergarten for youngsters; background checks for all gun purchases; same-sex marriage; a woman’s right to choose an abortion; and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Both opposed the Keystone Pipeline, want to abolish private prisons and believe the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision should be overturned in Citizens United that allows corporations to give unlimited campaign contributions to super PACs.

He supports free public college tuition; she supports President Obama’s plan for tuition-free community college.

She supports leaving Obamacare in place; he wants to create a single-payer system for universal health care.

She has received millions in campaign cash and speaking fees from Wall Street; he is unbought on that score.

She has more foreign policy experience from her former role as secretary of state under President Obama. She supported the Iraq war; he did not.

We encourage all eligible voters to exercise their right to vote on Tuesday, March 1. We also urge voters to remain engaged in the process through the final candidate selection process. The outcome of the Nov. 8 election will be critical to the future of this nation.

Richmond voters stand in line at the Randolph Community Center to cast ballots in the November 2012 presidential election.

Richmond voters stand in line at the Randolph Community Center to cast ballots in the November 2012 presidential election.