The news broke earlier today that Vermont Senator, and former 2016 Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, has reportedly recorded an announcement video with the expectation that he will launch an exploratory committee for a possible Presidential run in 2020. While the video will stop short of a full campaign declaration, according to reports, it will, however, allow Bernie to begin raising money and hiring staff with the anticipation of a full campaign launch in the coming weeks or months.
Politico had the scoop on Bernie’s plans from this afternoon:
Bernie Sanders, inching closer to a second bid for the White House, has recorded a campaign video in which he says he is running for president in 2020, according to two people familiar with the spot.
It’s the latest sign the independent senator, the runner-up in the 2016 contest for the Democratic nomination, is nearing a presidential announcement.
Another hint that Sanders is getting closer to a launch: As POLITICO reported this week, the Sanders team has been interviewing people for top staff positions. Chuck Rocha, a political consultant who advised Sanders’ 2016 campaign, is expected to join him again if a second bid materializes.
It is unclear when, or even whether, the Sanders video will be released. It’s possible that Sanders could launch a 2020 campaign with an exploratory committee and then formally declare his candidacy later, a route other presidential candidates, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have taken.
Sarah Ford, a spokeswoman for Sanders, did not respond to a request for comment about the video.
More media outlets picked up the story and according to The Hill, Bernie’s people did eventually comment on the news with a spokesperson denying the report:
A spokesperson for Sanders denied on Saturday that the senator was planning for a 2020 exploratory committee announcement next week.
Despite the denial, it’s a pretty safe bet that Sanders will more than likely enter the race and attempt to give it a go in 2020. For Bernie, it may not even be about winning the nomination, but more so about continuing to push the Democratic Party toward his brand of “Democratic socialism,” which has become a hot trend among the party base.
If Bernie does decide to get in, it will create a fight among the more left-leaning candidates which could allow Joe Biden the opportunity he’s been looking for.
As we noted in a story about Biden’s chances of joining the race, he was potentially waiting on Bernie:
A Sanders candidacy would likely encourage Biden to run because he doesn’t agree with the Vermont senator’s policies and thinks they’re losing politics.
In a primary, Biden and his advisers believe, all those left-tilting candidates would divide support and leave him with a sizable number of more moderate voters.
With Bernie appearing to take steps toward launching a campaign, and the polling data continuing to look good for Biden, it’s likely that we see the field widen in the coming weeks.
Even though Bernie recorded a video, and will likely launch an exploratory committee, it doesn’t mean he’s a lock for launching a presidential campaign. He may begin the exploratory process but find the field is too thick compared to 2016 and decide to let the next generation take a crack at it. I think that scenario is unlikely, but it’s possible.
With an impending Bernie announcement and the potential for the domino effect of a Biden announcement, we may just be witnessing the top-tier of the 2020 Democratic field beginning to take shape.