Vermont Sources Say Bernie Sanders To Announce 2016 Democratic Presidential Run on Thursday
Vermont's Independent U.S. Senator, Bernie Sanders, will announce on Thursday that he will seek the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2016.
The announcement, according to Vermont Public Radio's Bob Kinzel--one of the state's most respected and senior political reporters--will be followed by a more formal kickoff in several weeks.
"Sanders will release a short statement on that day and then hold a major campaign kickoff in Vermont in several weeks," VPR's website reported, adding that "Audio from this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29."
"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," VPR said, citing his opposition to a proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (T.P.P.) as an example of how he plans to frame key issues in 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 VPR interview last week. "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."
Sanders' entrance into the race as a Democratic candidate ensures that Hillary Clinton will face a challenger in the early causus and primary states. Just last weekend, he gave a well-received speech to Democrats in South Carolina, where his message of economic populism was well-received.
Sanders' entrance into the race may draw on the energy and momentum that many progressives have had for Massachusetts' Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has repeatedly been urged to run by groups like MoveOn.org and Democracy for America. Both Sanders and Warren share the same class-based analysis of domestic policies.
After decades in national poltics as an avowed Independent, it is significant that Sanders would choose to run as a Democrat. He undoubtedly is aware that he would not be on the same stage as Clinton had he run as a third-party candidate, as Ralph Nader did in 2000 when he ran on the Green Party ticket.
This suggests that Sanders is taking these steps because he believes that Clinton not only needs to hear progressive views, but is vulnerable as an insider candidate who's too close to many of the economic interests and institutions that are contributing to America's growing inequality.
Sanders, who was born in Brooklyn and moved to Vermont, has been active in politics for more than four decades. He first ran for lthe U.S. Senate and Vermont governor in the 1970s, losing by wide margins, In 1981, he was elected mayor of the state's largest city, Burlington, when he unseated a six-term incumbent by just 10 votes. He was re-elected several times and won Vermont’s only House seat in 1990. He was re-elected seven times before winning an open Senate seat. Although elected as an independent, he caucuses with the Democrats and is the ranking minority member of the Senate Budget Committee. He chaired Veterans Affairs when Democrats held the majority.