Bernie Sanders announces run for presidency in 2020
Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont whose 2016 campaign helped energize the progressive movement and move the Democratic party to the left, has entered the 2020 race for the White House, The Guardian reports.
In an email to supporters on Tuesday morning, Sanders, a self-styled Democratic socialist who spent much of his nearly 30-year political career as an outsider, announced his decision to run again, casting his candidacy as way to accomplish the mission he started in his race for the White House three years ago.
“Together, you and I and our 2016 campaign began the political revolution,” he said. “Now, it is time to complete that revolution and implement the vision that we fought for.”
Sanders, 77, running as a Democrat, believes he can prevail in a crowded and diverse field that includes several female and minority candidates, then beat Donald Trump, whom he called in the email “the most dangerous president in modern American history”.
Whether he can once again capture grassroots support, and whether the energy of his last campaign will pass to other candidates, will likely be a central factor in determining who Democrats nominate to take on the sitting president.
The progressive policies Sanders helped popularize in 2016 – Medicare-for-All, a $15 an hour federal minimum wage, tuition-free college and demands to combat climate change more aggressively and tax the wealthy at a higher rate – have been broadly embraced in a leftward shift that has reached several presidential candidates.
“Three years ago, during our 2016 campaign, when we brought forth our progressive agenda we were told that our ideas were ‘radical’ and ‘extreme’,” Sanders wrote. “Well, three years have come and gone. And, as result of millions of Americans standing up and fighting back, all of these policies and more are now supported by a majority of Americans.”
No candidate will enter the race with as many advantages as Sanders, who ended the 2016 primary with more than 13m votes and nearly $230m raised, much of it through small donations. He begins his second run for the White House not as a political outsider but as a top-tier candidate with near-universal name recognition, a dedicated following and an unrivaled donor list.Advertisement
Yet in a second campaign he will likely face far greater scrutiny, in a growing field already populated by colleagues and allies including the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, his closest friend in Congress, and Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, one of the few members of the House to endorse him in 2016.
Senators Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota have all entered the race, as have lower-profile contenders including the former San Antonio mayor and federal housing secretary Juán Castro and Pete Buttigieg, the young mayor of South Bend, Indiana. The former vice-president Joe Biden, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke and billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg are all weighing whether to run.
This year, Sanders apologized publicly and privately to former female staffers after allegations of sexual harassment perpetrated by male staffers on his 2016 campaign. He has also continued to stumble on questions about race, despite a years-long effort to improve his standing with minority voters.
The political landscape has shifted since 2015. After a midterm election cycle that saw women and minority candidates sweep to power, the nominating contest is likely to be fought not only over questions of ideology but over identity and electoral strategy. Already, the 2020 candidates are being pushed on how they can appeal to the party’s broad range of demographic groups, which includes working-class families, black and Latino voters, suburban women and millennials.
Sanders will face opposition from moderate Democrats and from Republicans who are likely to use his candidacy to paint the party as too liberal. In a preview of Trump’s re-election campaign, the president used his State of the Union speech this month to warn against what he said was the creep of socialism in America.
Sanders responded: “I know that this will probably not shock you – and I hate to say this – but not everything Donald Trump said tonight was true or accurate.”
Sanders did not immediately reveal details about when and where he would hold his first campaign rally. The initial phase of Sanders’s 2020 campaign was expected focus on gathering commitments from one million voters, an effort he outlines in the email.
With a fractured Democratic field, advisers believe Sanders’ core support, should he retain it over the next year, will be enough to power his campaign in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, the early voting states that helped lift his 2016 campaign. South Carolina, where African Americans made up a majority of the Democratic electorate in 2016, will probably present a challenge. If he can manage a decent showing there, advisers believe he will be well positioned ahead of voting in big states like California and Texas in a new, front-loaded primary calendar.
He is also likely to benefit from a campaign waged by his allies to reform the party’s primary process, which succeeded in stripping voting power from the so-called “superdelegates”, a major source of controversy in 2016.
Born to Jewish parents with roots in Poland and Russia, Sanders grew up poor in a cramped apartment in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from the University of Chicago, where he became involved in the civil rights movement. In 1981, he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont. In 1990, Sanders became the state’s sole representative in Congress, where he served until he joined the Senate in 2006.
Following the election of Trump, Sanders published a book titled Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In. He has four children and is married to Jane O’Meara, a former president of Burlington College and his closest adviser.