Bernie Sanders has now confirmed that he wants to be the Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential elections.
In 2016, US progressives were disappointed when Sanders ‘lost‘ the Democratic primary race to Hillary Clinton. Since then, there’s been ongoing speculation as to whether Sanders would throw his hat in to challenge Trump in 2020. And with hints in recent days that he would, progressives have been showing their excitement.
Leaked video and staff hiring spree
On 16 February, Sanders recorded a video stating his intention to run for president. This came as news broke that his office was interviewing people for open positions, implying he was in the process of building campaign staff.
Progressives from across the Twittersphere have been posting messages of support and encouragement.
Minnesota state senator Shawn Olson posted a cartoon that posed Sanders as the representation of love against Trump as the personification of hate:
— Shawn Olson 🔥🌊🌎 (@OOOlson) February 18, 2019
Socialist activists, meanwhile, pledged their support. And they cautioned against efforts by centrists to marginalize him:
@BernieSanders recorded a potus campaign announcement video & centrists are hard at work trying to marginalize him. Should @DemSocialists endorse his campaign? Matt talks to @EmmaCaterineDSA of DSA's Socialist Majority Caucus, who says YEP!https://t.co/apx4RloByy
— Solidarity House Cooperative (@HouseSolidarity) February 18, 2019
UK Labour MP Chris Williamson also sent some support from across the Atlantic, giving a vision of a new and different ‘special relationship’ between the US and Britain:
— Chris Williamson MP #GTTO (@DerbyChrisW) February 16, 2019
Some Twitter users pointed out how extensive meddling from the Democratic Party and media establishments affected his nomination chances in 2016:
— #BlackWomenForBernie2020 (@LostDiva) February 17, 2019
Me: We need to make sure the 2020 dem primary is open and transparent so that what happened to Bernie Sanders never happens again. https://t.co/ghrzu3x2D3
— beth, an alien™ (@bourgeoisalien) February 12, 2019
To be sure, there were a few skeptics and critics of the idea:
The top 10 of Bernie Sanders' highest paid staffers ….they were all men.
That's not the record I want going in to the White House after 2020
I am not working my ass off for more of the same.
This is not the best we can do.
— ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@riotwomennn) February 17, 2019
But others pointed out that he’s polling ahead of many other candidates in the Democratic Party field, and has considerable momentum for a 2020 run:
— will 🌹🍷 (@31WA) February 15, 2019
Bernie Sanders has the most durable and active base of supporters out anyone. These folks are the donors and future super volunteers of the political revolution. They reside in all 50 states including Guam and Puerto Rico and they still #feelthebernhttps://t.co/7zFzb59XAN
— Winifred (@WaywardWinifred) February 16, 2019
Clearly, Sanders has momentum behind him. His progressive credentials may not be perfect. But he seems to stand head and shoulders over other candidates who carry the ‘centrist’ (read right-wing) baggage of the establishment wing of the Democratic Party. Furthermore, Sanders is best placed to hoover up Trump voters in ‘Middle America’ – some of whom voted for him in the Democratic primary only to switch to Trump in disgust at Clinton’s phoney progressivism.
With renewed interest in democratic socialism taking hold in the US (especially amongst young people), the time has come for a democratic socialist to run for the White House. And since this kind of politics represents the only genuine alternative to neoliberalism and right-wing populism, Sanders seems like the ideal person to take on Trump and overturn the status quo.
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