Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders officially entered the 2020 race for president Tuesday and quickly finds himself among the top contenders.
“We began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign, and now it’s time to move that revolution forward,” Sanders told Vermont Public Radio Tuesday. Sanders won several key primaries in the 2016 race, including New Hampshire, before the campaign fizzled out over the summer.
As a senator, the 77-year-old Sanders has remained a national leader of the Democratic Party but he’s actually registered as an independent. In 2016 he ran for the Democratic nomination. His 2020 website launched following Tuesday’s announcement.
“No one candidate, not even the greatest candidate you could imagine, is capable of taking on Donald Trump and the billionaire class alone,” it states. “There is only one way we win — and that is together.”
Sanders brought issues such as a Medicare-for-all national healthcare plan and a $15 minimum wage to the forefront of the Democratic Party.
“It turned out that many of the ideas that I talked about — that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and that we’ve got to move forward toward a Medicare-for-all, a single payer system: very, very popular,” Sanders said. “When I talked about making public colleges and universities tuition-free and lowering student debt, that was another issue that people said was too radical. Well, that’s also happening around the country.”
Sanders will face a more crowded field than when he took on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, many of whom already have a head start on him. Five fellow senators are running or exploring campaigns for the Democratic nomination, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and California Sen. Kamala Harris.
Sanders sent an email to supporters after he made the announcement.
“I’m running for president because, now more than ever, we need leadership that brings us together — not divides us up,” Sanders said. “Women and men, black, white, Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight, young and old, native born and immigrant. Now is the time for us to stand together.”
Sanders has also dealt with controversy, including claims of sexual harassment by staffers in his 2016 campaign. He apologized publicly and said he was unaware of the misconduct at the time because he was “a little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case.”
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