Senator Bernie Sanders, 77, the Vermont independent and 2016 Democratic primary runner-up whose populist policy agenda has helped push the party to the left, embarked today on a second run for president.
The self-styled democratic socialist whose calls for “Medicare for all,” a $15 minimum wage and tuition-free public colleges have become pillars of the party’s left wing, Sanders is among the best-known politicians to join an already crowded Democratic field and one of the most outspoken against President Trump, whom he has repeatedly called a “pathological liar” and a “racist.”
“Three years ago, during our 2016 campaign, when we brought forth our progressive agenda we were told that our ideas were ‘radical’ and ‘extreme,’” Mr. Sanders said on Tuesday in an early-morning email to supporters, citing those health, economic and education policies as well as combating climate change and raising taxes on wealthy Americans.
“Well, three years have come and gone. And, as result of millions of Americans standing up and fighting back, all of these policies and more are now supported by a majority of Americans,” he said.
Watch his announcement here:
In a 1,500-word email to supporters, Sanders said his democratic socialist ideals, including socialized medicine and upper-income tax hikes, were considered ‘”radical” and “extreme”‘ in the last election cycle but are gaining broader acceptance.
‘Three years have come and gone. And, as result of millions of Americans standing up and fighting back, all of these policies are now supported by a majority of Americans.’
‘Together, you and I and our 2016 campaign began the political revolution. Now, it is time to complete that revolution and implement the vision that we fought for.’
Sanders was expected to be an asterisk in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary field, but mounted a serious enough challenge to Clinton that Democratic Party leaders propped her up internally.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida lawmaker, was forced to resign her party chairmanship after leaked emails showed her conspiring with the Clinton campaign to sabotage Sanders.
But Sanders’ unlikely campaign struck a chord with party rebels tired of what they termed the ‘swamp’ of established Washington politicians.
He continued his anti-Trump rollout in an interview with Vermont Public Radio, touting his health and ‘energy level’ as he said ‘the current occupant of the White House is an embarrassment to our country.’
He claimed the president ‘is gaining cheap political points by trying to pick on minorities, often undocumented immigrants.’
Former Vice President Joe Biden, and Beto O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman who narrowly lost November’s U.S. Senate race to Ted Cruz, are both lingering on the sidelines.