Sen. Bernie Sanders to announce candidacy on Thursday

BernieSandersWell, this is what you have been demanding liberals and progressives: the self-described socialist independent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), leaked word today that he is running for president, as a Democrat.

I am not sure exactly how this works, as Sen. Sanders would have to be a Democrat — not an independent — in order to appear on the Democratic Party primary ballot in most states. I’m sure he will work this out.

Here is a link to Bernie Sander’s official campaign web site, Bernie Sanders, and a link to his Facebook page. Bernie Sanders For President 2016 | Facebook. “More news on the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!” ‪#‎Sanders2016‬.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday. Bernie Sanders To Announce Presidential Run:

Sanders will release a short statement on that day and then hold a major campaign kickoff in Vermont in several weeks.

Sanders’ entry into the Democratic race ensures that Hillary Clinton will face a challenge to win the support of the liberal wing of the party.

Sanders’ basic message will be that the middle class in America has been decimated in the past two decades while wealthy people and corporations have flourished.

His opposition to a proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (T.P.P.) shows how he plans to frame this key issue of his campaign.

“If you want to understand why the middle class in America is disappearing and why we have more wealth and income inequality in America than we have had since the late 1920s, you have to address the issue of trade,” Sanders said in a phone interview on April 23.

As the longest-serving Independent member of Congress, Sanders has been a vocal critic of the influence that large corporations have on the political process.

“All of the major corporations want to continue with this trade policy. Wall Street wants to continue this trade policy. The drug companies want to continue this trade policy. But organizations representing American workers and the environment do not want to continue the trade policy. They want new trade policies,” he said.

And Sanders says it is imperative that all the Democratic presidential candidates address the issue of trade and income inequality.

“So, I think that Hillary Clinton and every candidate out there should in fact address whether or not they support this T.P.P.,” Sanders said.

In the past few months, Sanders has been actively visiting many of the early presidential primary states. Just last weekend he traveled to South Carolina to address the state Democratic Party and news reports indicate that his economic message drew a lot of support at the state meeting.

Beltway media villager Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post writes today, Bernie Sanders isn’t going to be president. That’s not the point:

Vermont Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders is going to formally enter the race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday. He’s not going to win.

This is not, by any traditional definition, breaking news. Sanders, aside from being an avowed Socialist, is little known outside of the most liberal of circles nationally and has no intention of matching Hillary Clinton dollar for fundraising dollar. (Even if Sanders wanted to try to raise the sort of money that would make him competitive with Clinton, he couldn’t do it. Or come anywhere close.)

No one knows those realities better than Sanders. So, why run? Because Sanders is part of a new-ish breed of presidential candidate: One who runs a cause more than campaign.

Vermont Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders is going to formally enter the race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday. He’s not going to win.

This is not, by any traditional definition, breaking news. Sanders, aside from being an avowed Socialist, is little known outside of the most liberal of circles nationally and has no intention of matching Hillary Clinton dollar for fundraising dollar. (Even if Sanders wanted to try to raise the sort of money that would make him competitive with Clinton, he couldn’t do it. Or come anywhere close.)

No one knows those realities better than Sanders. So, why run? Because Sanders is part of a new-ish breed of presidential candidate: One who runs a cause more than campaign.

* * *

And, there’s already some evidence that Sanders candidacy or, maybe more accurately, what his candidacy represents to the left, is having some impact.

Clinton has revealed very little of her 2016 policy platform but one place where she’s seems likely to push hard is on the issue of campaign finance reform. In one of her first appearance as an official candidate, she told an Iowa audience that the campaign financing system was “dysfunctional” and in a (very brief) follow-up interview with two Post reporters she added: “We do have a plan. We have a plan for my plan.” (Um, ok.)

She’s also emphasized her bona fides on the income inequality fight in the early days of her campaign — insisting that it’s a fight that she’s long been involved in and will take to Washington if elected next November. “Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times,” she said in the video announcing her presidential candidacy. “But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion.”

On trade — and TPP, more specifically — Clinton has avoided taking a position, notable because of President Obama’s support for the deal. “Any trade deal has to produce jobs and raise wages and increase prosperity and protect our security,” Clinton said last week in New Hampshire, a statement that says a whole lot of not much.

That positioning is not because Clinton is nervous about the prospect of “Bernie for President.” But, what Sanders’ candidacy will do is ensure that someone in the race is holding Clinton’s feet to the fire on these issues of import to the left. Sanders, in debates especially but on the campaign trail more generally, will push Clinton to not only affirm the general sentiments she’s expressed on campaign finance, income inequality and trade but also to put out specifics of how exactly she would approach those issues if elected president.

* * *

[U]nlike, say, Martin O’Malley, who would love to wind up in the Clinton Cabinet, Sanders has nothing to lose. He’s not going to be on the Democratic ticket or in Clinton’s Cabinet no matter what happens. So, he’s free to take the fight to Clinton in ways that others in the field simply won’t.

That’s not a strategy to win a presidential nomination. But, as a strategy to make a point, it’s pretty damn good.

One response to “Sen. Bernie Sanders to announce candidacy on Thursday

  1. Very comprehensive article about Senator Sanders, including his 8 years as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Also, his very effective time in the US Senate, sponsoring many successful amendments to legislation. Here’s the link:

    http://www.vox.com/2014/10/14/6839305/bernie-sanders-running-for-president-2016