Sen. Bernie Sanders has not commented on whether he will be running as a Democrat or Independent if he launches a 2016 presidential campaign, but he will be visiting early Democratic primary states Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina in the coming month.
Sanders told The Hill that he is evaluating the support that he would have for a presidential run,
Sanders plans to return to New Hampshire, which neighbors his home state, on Sept. 27 to speak at the Stafford County Democrats annual dinner near Durham, according to his staff.
“I’ll be going to New Hampshire, and I’ll be going to Iowa. That’s part of my trying to ascertain the kind of support that exists for a presidential run,” he said Monday in an interview.
Sanders will hold a series of town-hall meetings in Iowa in Dubuque, Waterloo and Des Moines on Sept. 13 and 14, according to his staff. Clinton will be in Iowa the same weekend to attend a steak fry hosted by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
This week, Sanders will visit South Carolina, the host of another important contest early on the 2016 presidential primary calendar, to speak at an event sponsored by Progressive Voters of America, South Forward and the South Carolina Progressive Network.
If Sen. Sanders (I-VT) ran as a Democrat, he would definitely be on the ballot and in the Democratic primary debates. He wouldn’t have to raise the hundreds of millions of dollars that an Independent campaign would require, and he would also avoid the laws that act as barriers to keep Independents off the ballot in many states. The legal fights for ballot access are time-consuming and very expensive. Sanders would have a much easier path as a Democratic primary candidate than as an Independent general election candidate.
Former Sec. of State Clinton needs a primary challenge to keep her from focusing on the general election campaign too early. She should have some debates, and be forced to earn the support of Democratic voters at the polls. Sen. Sanders mostly likely has little chance of winning the Democratic nomination, but that wouldn’t be the point of his campaign.
A Sanders primary campaign would give liberals a candidate that would discuss Wall Street, income inequality, Citizens United, the need for real jobs legislation, and more liberal foreign policy. With Elizabeth Warren taking herself out of the running for 2016, it looks like the responsibility to challenge Hillary Clinton may fall to Bernie Sanders.
Sen. Sanders said that Clinton won’t be anointed, and it is looking like she might be directly challenged.