WASHINGTON (SBG) – Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., announced in mid-February he is running for president again, after losing the 2016 Democrat nomination to Hillary Clinton but winning much of the party over to his democratic socialist ideals.
Sander’s top policy priorities– free college, Medicare for All and $15 minimum wage- may sound familiar to those who have followed his decades-long advocacy for his self-styled “political revolution.” What’s different this time around?
“We’re going to win,” said the Vermont senator, in an interview with CBS upon announcing his candidacy in February.
However, his campaign got off to a shaky start with his top staffers leaving just a week after he announced he was running again. There have also been suggestions that the seventy-seven-year-old senator may become a victim of his own success, as he’s entered a crowded field with many younger Democrat candidates who now share many of the ideals that initially captivated his devoted following of so-called ‘Bernie Bros.’
Though he performed well with young voters in the last presidential primary race and still draws huge crowds, Sen. Sanders has struggled to gain traction with minorities and women. His movement’s male-centric reputation wasn’t helped by allegations that women were harassed while working for his 2016 campaign. Sen. Sanders apologized to the alleged victims in January.
“We have been criticized, correctly so, for running a campaign that was too white and too male-oriented, and that is going to change,” said Sanders said in an February interview with The Young Turks.
Sen. Sanders has spent his career in politics, but he was first elected to political office as mayor of Burlington- Vermont’s most populist city- in 1981. He later was elected to the U.S. House and has been the state’s only Senator since 2007. He is the longest serving independent in congressional history, briefly changing his party affiliation so he could run as a Democrat in the 2016 race. Sen. Sanders switched back in March to seek the Democrat Party nomination for the 2020 presidential election.
Once an underdog candidate, Sen. Sanders now has wide name recognition, a long email donor list and a digital media machine. He raised nearly $6 million in 24 hours after launching his second bid for the presidency, a then-record-smashing amount. That gives the democratic socialist’s presidential campaign a financial edge, especially considering he’s still got money left over from his previous failed bid for the presidency.
Sen. Sanders has said he will release his tax records going back 10 years, but he hasn’t confirmed when. Currently, the most recent record available is his 2014 return- before he began his upstart campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination.
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