Will second time be a charm for Bernie Sanders?
The Independent senator from Vermont has announced he will be running for president once again, assuring that "it’s not only about defeating Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in American modern history," but about "transforming the country."
Hoping to reap what he sowed two years ago, Bernie Sanders is running for president once again.
Vermont’s Independent senator announced on Tuesday his decision to get back in the ring, becoming the latest in a long line of candidates determined to emerge as Democratic voters' choice to take down Donald Trump.
Distancing himself from his colleagues-turned-competitors, Sanders pledged in his announcement video that his campaign goes beyond winning the Democratic nomination or "defeating" the current president. He focuses instead on goals of "transforming the country," creating a government based "on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”
Sanders is no stranger to the radical political transformation the country has undergone since his last presidential campaign, when his progressive agenda, which included a Medicare For All plan, a minimum wage increase, and tuition-free higher education, challenged a country not yet fully prepared for a change of that caliber.
Today, and in the wake of victories by upstart politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the 2018 midterm elections, Sanders' "radical" proposals rank among the top priorities of a rejuvenated electorate, comprised largely of millennials and first-time voters.
Taking advantage of this momentum, the senator wasted no time in calling things the ways he sees them, describing Donald Trump as "the most dangerous president in American modern history."
“You know as well as I do that we are living in a pivotal and dangerous moment in American history,” he said. “We are running against a president who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction.”
He also made clear his intentions to re-imagine a style of government based on social justice and equal opportunities, declaring again an open war against "the 1 percent" that controls the media and economic power in the country.
It’s what he calls "a political revolution".
Just weeks ago, Sanders was still undecided about his candidacy, saying he was waiting to see the leadership options that could best challenge the Trump re-election campaign.
Apparently, the senator doesn’t believe there is anyone who exceeds his experience in the field.
To this end, Sanders has invited the country to join his grassroots movement, one that will need "one million volunteers in each state," and that already has a campaign team that has raised $300,000 from 11,000 donations, according to Politico.
Recent polls show Sanders in second place among declared and likely Democratic candidates, trailing former vice president Joe Biden by 10 points, and sitting ahead of California Senator Kamala Harris.
However, Sanders must face questions surrounding his advanced age - he's 77 years old, and the fact that many of his opponents have also embraced components of his agenda. He is also running in a climate in which female candidates and candidates of color are increasingly popular among voters.
The senator will also surely be subject to a myriad of attacks from conservatives, many of whom have demonized him, along with Ocasio-Cortez, as standard bearers of a supposed radical socialism that "threatens the country.”
Ignoring the distortions of his character, Sanders' career speaks for itself: he is the most experienced Independent member of Congress in the body's history, and "for 16 years, he served as the only congressman in the state of Vermont before he was elected to the Senate in 2006," according to the New York Times.
During his first year in the House, Sanders created the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and he is considered the first socialist to have set foot on the building. He opposed the war in Iraq and, once elected senator, he began his campaign in favor of financial reforms, and in opposition to large corporations.
Sanders' independence from the Democratic Party, and his consistent criticism of the insufficiency of bipartisanship, make him a powerful candidate in the Democratic primaries - but to avoid a 2016-like fiasco, he will also have to forge ties and close ranks with his colleagues, all in order to avoid a second round of the current White House administration.