While Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders filed his intention to officially seek the 2016 Democratic nomination several weeks ago, he postponed his campaign launch until today. Sanders enters the race to the left of Hillary Clinton politically, focusing heavily on a progressive agenda.
Report from the Reading Eagle:
Challenging Hillary Rodham Clinton from the left, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders formally launched his Democratic presidential campaign on Tuesday by vowing to start a “political revolution” to address core economic issues, massive student debt and the role of big money in politics.
Already in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders was opening his campaign with a kickoff event — complete with free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream — in Burlington, the place where he won his first election by beating a longtime incumbent Democrat by 10 votes to become mayor.
“I know what I believe,” Sanders said in a fundraising email hours before his launch that pushed back against “the billionaire class” trying to buy the election. “That’s why today marks the beginning of our political revolution.”
Sanders, a self-described “democratic socialist,” is trying to ignite a grassroots fire among left-leaning Democrats wary of Clinton — a group that pined for months for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to get in to race. Some still do.
But while Warren remains committed to the Senate, repeatedly saying she won’t run for the White House, Sanders is laying out an agenda in step with the party’s progressive wing and Warren’s platform — reining in Wall Street banks, tackling college debt and creating a government-financed infrastructure jobs program.
“Hillary Clinton is a candidate. I am a candidate,” Sanders said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I suspect there will be other candidates. The people in this country will make their choice.”
Sander has jumped in the polls due to the lack of candidates on the Democratic side since his announcement back on April 30. I expect him to drive the conversation to the left and attempt to force Hillary into adopting some positions she may otherwise not be comfortable touting.
However, Sanders will soon be challenged by Martin O’Malley, another Democratic hoping to claim the progressive mantle and challenge Hillary in a similar fashion.