Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is running for president again. He announced this morning that he is launching a second campaign for the White House four years after his surprisingly strong bid for the Democratic Party’s 2016 nomination.
“We began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign, and now it’s time to move that revolution forward,” the independent senator told Vermont Public Radio in an interview Tuesday morning.
Sanders, a 77-year-old independent who caucuses with Democrats, made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2016, losing out to Hillary Clinton, who was in turn defeated by Donald Trump.
Like Trump, Sanders was an outsider when the 2016 presidential primaries began but came close to pulling off an upset over Clinton.
He received passionate support among young liberals with his calls for universal health care, a $15 minimum wage and free public university education.
While Sanders is still popular with many Democrats, many now question whether their standard bearer this time around should be a septuagenarian white man.
Hi 2020 bid will definitely be a very different presidential campaign than his underdog quest in 2016. Sanders is now a top contender who, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, leads most opinion polls.
Since his loss to Clinton in 2016, Sanders has become a national leader of the Democratic Party, though he still refuses to officially join.
Sanders mentioned the Democratic Party’s shift to the left as a reason for a second run, saying:
“It turns out that many of the ideas that I talked about – that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and that we’ve got to move toward a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system: very, very popular. The idea that we have got to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.”
“When I talked about making public colleges and universities tuition-free and lowering student debt, that was another issue that people said was too radical. Well, that’s also happening around the country.”
Sen. Sanders will face stiff competition from many other progressive Democrats who will also be running for president in 2020. His competitors will all be younger than him, and will include many women and several minorities.
New Hampshire radio host Arnie Arnesen, a 2016 Sanders supporter, recently told NPR:
“My question is, does he provide added value in this campaign for 2020? Or are there a lot of people who sort of carry very similar messages? Does it have to be him? I don’t think it does, and I admire him.”
“I think it’s time for us to start creating a new bench. And the new bench isn’t old, it shouldn’t be white, and it probably shouldn’t be male.”