Following reports yesterday that he would announce a run, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) announced a presidential bid today in an interview with the Associated Press. He is the second announced Democratic candidate after Hillary Clinton. Others, such as former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, are still looking at the race. Sanders said that his key issues would be combatting income inequality and regulating the campaign finance system, such as fighting the effects of Citizens United.
Senator Sanders would be running to Hillary Clinton’s left and would serve as a loud voice for the progressive cause. He has many fans in the progressive community and he often works with activist groups on various issues. He may be able to gain support from those who currently back Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Warren is another populist favorite, but she has repeatedly said that she will not run. However, this does not stop fans from encouraging her to do so and she does poll relatively well in the Democratic field.
However, Sanders is not looking for people to view him as a mere primary challenger to Clinton who draws her to the left. He says that his message of fighting income inequality and other proposals would appeal to independents and Republicans. He paints his platform as one that aligns with and appeals to working class Americans.
Sanders has spoken about joining the race for several months. However, he had previously said that he was looking at whether or not he could run a national campaign based off of grassroots donations.
Sanders will run as a Democrat for President. This carries two distinct benefits. First, he would be able to tap into the Democratic fundraising machine should he make it into the general election. Second, this will get him into the Democratic primaries which will allow him to have a large platform for his views and to attack Clinton.