US Senator Bernie Sanders announced on Tuesday that he will again run for president in 2020, launching a second attempt at securing the Democratic Party’s nomination after marking his anti-establishment credentials in the previous race.
Sanders, 77, announced his candidacy in an email to supporters, vowing to build a vast movement to confront the special interests that he said dominate government and politics, Reuters reports.
The Vermont progressive whose 2016 White House campaign garnered fervent grassroots support and pushed the Democratic Party sharply to the left, said he will push for many of the same issues that powered his 2016 run and resonated with younger voters.
Universal healthcare, raising the hourly minimum wage to US$15, and free public college tuition are some the issues he is expected to highlight again.
“Our campaign is about creating a government and economy that works for the many, not just the few,” Sanders said, asking for one million people to sign up to kick off his bid.
Sanders’ insurgent 2016 candidacy against front-runner Hillary Clinton ended up capturing 23 state nominating contests, but generated tension between the party’s establishment and liberal wings that split the Democrats in 2016 and still plagues the party, Reuters noted.
He joins an already-crowded Democratic race featuring candidates touting many of the ideas he brought into the party mainstream.
They include fellow Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Sanders has been among the leaders in early opinion polls of prospective 2020 Democratic candidates, but a broad range of progressive candidates could make it harder for him to stand out and generate the same level of support as four years ago.
In an interview with SiriusXM radio, Sanders said voters “might want to look at who was there first, and who raised these issues in the past.”
He condemned Republican President Donald Trump in his statement as “the most dangerous president in modern American history,” labeling him “a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe.”
Sanders enters the race with clear strengths, including broad name recognition, a proven ability to raise money from small-dollar donors and a committed set of passionate supporters.
But he is also likely to face questions about his age and relevance in a party that is increasingly advancing more diverse and fresh voices, including those of women and minorities – groups that Sanders struggled to win over in 2016, Reuters noted.
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