Although some argue it is too early to start talking about the 2020 election when we still have to turn Congress blue next year, talk about whom the Democrats might run against President Donald Trump is beginning nonetheless.
There is some mention of New York governor Andrew Cuomo possibly throwing his hat into the proverbial fray. Other names being floated are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
Arguably, another possible contender gaining serious attention never left the discussion after November’s election.
He’s an Independent senator from the little state of Vermont.
His name is Bernie Sanders.
Ever hear of him?
The avuncular Brooklyn-accented Vermont firebrand is staffing up, touring the nation, and holding the crowds he drew during his 2015-16 presidential campaign.
Some political rubrics show Sanders as the most popular public speaker and the most aggressive grassroots fundraiser in American history.
Many regard Sanders’ current activity de rigueur for a second presidential run.
According to Vox:
“He’s established a national political organization, he’s improved his ties with colleagues on Capitol Hill, he’s maintained a heavy presence in national media, and he’s traveling the country talking about issues.
“In subtle ways he’s shifted his policy commitments to the center, making himself a more broadly acceptable figure in the party. At the same time, he’s held on to a couple of signature issues — Medicare-for-all and tuition-free public college — that give him exactly the kind of clear-cut and broadly accessible agenda that mainstream Democrats lack.”
If some regarded his run for the White House last year as a joke or destined to fail, many now are re-considering that estimation after the momentum his campaign gathered, influencing the most progressive Democratic party platform in modern history.
The labor movement that supported Sanders last year backed Sanders supporter Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-Minn.) bid for Democratic Nation Committee (DNC) chair earlier this year. The DNC is also featuring Sanders more prominently on progressive platform issues his campaign influenced–headlining rallies in support of the Affordable Care Act, and appearing with Gov. Cuomo to promote the governor’s College-for-All plan.
And he’s building a team.
He’s taken on Matt Duss, a veteran Middle East analyst known for his dubious positions on America’s tacit alliance with Saudi Arabia and Israel, and Ari Rabin-Havt, former adviser to former Senate leader Harry Reid.
There is also Sen. Sanders’ national political organization Our Revolution dedicated to getting his supporters elected to state and local offices, launched shortly after he lost the Democratic nomination to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
More importantly, Sanders is addressing party officials’ concerns about ideological extremism, and calling out the DNC establishment’s shortcomings.
On June 13, he published the incendiary New York Times op-ed, “How Democrats Can Stop Losing Elections” in which he appeals to left-of-center voters who don’t feel connected to the Democratic Party, and maintains his oft-iterated support for a Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care system that would build on the Affordable Care Act’s gains.
But what does Sanders think about all this talk about his running again?
“I’m not taking it off the table. I just have not made any decisions. And I think it’s much too early. People right now, our job right now, is to not only fight against this disastrous health care proposal, it is to take on all of Trump’s reactionary proposals.”
In that interview, Sanders discussed the emails Donald Trump Jr. released last week pertaining to the June 2016 meeting Trump Jr. had with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya.
“It is a very damaging piece of evidence. But what is important is that there be a methodical, objective, bipartisan process that looks at this whole business of the possibility of Trump’s campaign colluding with the Russians.”
Pertaining to the nomination of Christopher Wray as FBI director, Sanders commented:
“The key issue here, Mark, there’s one very simple issue: We have … a very, very weird moment in American history. We have a president who is doing things that have been unprecedented. There is reason to believe that he may have fired the last FBI director because that director was in the middle of an investigation looking at the possible collusion of the Trump campaign with Russia. That’s why, maybe, why he was fired. The most important thing [is that the new FBI director must be] absolutely independent and has got to make it clear that he will stand up for law and for justice, and not be at the whim of this president.”
Bernie Sanders in 2020?
Perhaps. You know the saying about hindsight.
Featured image from YouTube video.