Bernie Sanders, 77 years young, is giving it one more try.
Three years after fighting a surprisingly competitive Democratic primary race against Hillary Clinton which as leaked emails from the DNC revealed was rigged against him from the start, the Vermont socialist is making another run for the White House.
According to two sources quoted by Yahoo News “with direct knowledge of his plans”, Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist plans to announce his presidential bid “imminently.”
According to Yahoo, while Sanders had been considering a bid for months, he was supposedly emboldened by early polls of the race which have confirmed America’s growing infatuation with socialism, and have consistently showed him as one of the top candidates in a crowded Democratic primary field.
In particular, the source said Sanders was heartened to see numbers indicating he is one of the leading candidates among African American and Latino voters, two groups he was perceived as struggling with in 2016.
Furthermore, the source also alluded to recent polls that showed Sanders as the most popular politician in the country, which they attributed to the base and name recognition he built with the prior presidential bid. “What the senator has this time that he didn’t have last time is he is the most popular elected official in the country right now,” the source said. “That’s light years away from 2016, when very few people knew who he was.”
According to the report, Sanders’ bid will begin with an exploratory committee, while a former staffer said Sanders has been building out the infrastructure he would need for a White House bid.
“He’s already talking to staff and there are people he’s hiring. They’re nailing down contracts with vendors. … All the movement is there for him to run,” the ex-staffer said.
While Sanders was ultimately defeated by Clinton in the last primaries, the result of what leaked emails revealed was a corrupt process made to ensure Bernie loses, his campaign reshaped the Democratic Party. Sanders ran on a progressive platform that included a focus on eliminating income inequality, on campaign finance reform and an ambitious “Medicare for All” health care proposal. Those principles have become centerpieces for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and several Sanders-backed candidates won elections last year.
Many of Sanders’ socialist views have been espoused by the person many consider the future face of the socialist democratic party: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
However, Sanders’ impact on the Democratic Party went beyond his political vision. The primary battle between Sanders and Clinton was contentious, with Sanders allies contending that Clinton’s campaign was working in conjunction with the Democratic Party establishment to prevent a Sanders victory. These battles cemented divisions in this party that linger on as the 2020 election approaches.
After President Trump’s victory over Clinton in 2016, and thanks to the “Russian” hacking of the DNC, Sanders and his allies pressed for reforms to the Democratic National Committee that would make the party’s primary process more open and inclusive of what Sanders termed “the working people and young people of our country.”
Finally, although he will be entering an extremely crowded Democratic field, Sanders who would be 79 in his first year in office if elected president, is starting from a formidable position. Early polls of the race have consistently showed Sanders as one of the top candidates, probably due to the base of support he established in 2016. Sanders allies also believe his prior run could give him a head start organizing in key early primary states.
Quoted by Yahoo News, Pete D’Alessandro, Sanders’s Iowa state coordinator for the 2016 race, said he was confident the senator would be able to build on the grassroots support and infrastructure he established in 2016 if he made another run.
“This was a movement. It still is a movement,” D’Alessandro said.