Bernie Sanders Is Running For President – What This Means For The Democratic Party

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Bernie Sanders

Vermont’s NPR News source has learned that Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, a left-wing populist, is running for President of the United States on the Democratic ticket, and thus will be the first official challenger to Hillary Clinton, who announced earlier this month.

According to Vermont’s NPR, Sanders will officially announce his candidacy on Thursday followed by a campaign kickoff in the coming weeks where he will begin fundraising.

From sources close to the Senator:

“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.

“His opposition to a proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (T.P.P.) shows how he plans to frame this key issue of his campaign.”

The Washington Post reports that Tad Devine, a former  campaign aide to Al Gore, John Kerry and Michael Dukakis, will serve as Sanders’ political adviser.

What does this mean for the Democratic Party, though?

Four main things:

  1. Seeing that Hillary Clinton is considered the party’s frontrunner, Sanders will only force her to swing left in order to calm progressive worries. Just a few days ago, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), responded to inquiries about her rejecting her own presidential bid, saying she is already starting a debate amongst the progressive caucus. Sanders, the only self-described Democratic-Socialist in Congress, can only propel Clinton more to the left should she want to compete for more progressive votes.
  2.  He will give Clinton much-needed primary competition, which will stop the progressive base from sneering that she was simply a shoo-in candidate who had to put in no effort and has no competition. Many progressives and liberal-leaning Democrats have expressed uncertainty about a Clinton 2016 vote, saying they would much rather have options to choose from, many of whom said either Warren or Sanders.
  3. Sanders will make progressives, liberals and Democrats think long and hard about what their candidate should be. Whereas Warren and himself are staunch opponents to President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, Clinton has tread lightly on the matter, leaving room for uncertainty and doubts. Whereas Warren and himself have been consistently anti-Wall Street, anti-too big to fail, Clinton only recently started to embrace a more populist position. Trends have shown that in recent years, Democrats have become more liberal, and Republicans more conservative. Sanders’ firebrand populism could spell trouble for the more moderate Clinton (moderate in comparison to Sanders).
  4. Some fear that Sanders’s run against Clinton could potentially split the party (unless Clinton moves further to the left). Should that happen, sending the Democratic Party into a tailspin, a Republican victory could be seen. Voting patterns of Democrats are fragile enough, so mobilizing is key to a Democratic victory.

The last point is far fetched, however. With primaries not until the summer of 2016, anything can happen. This is set to be one of the costliest and ugliest elections this country has ever seen.

Bernie Sanders has served in Congress since 1990, originally Vermont’s lone representative, before being elected to the Senate in 2006 and again in 2012. When he was re-elected in 2012, Sanders received 71 percent of the vote.

Perhaps a Clinton/Sanders 2016 ticket? Or a Sanders/Clinton? Only time will tell.


Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info