Senator Bernie Sanders launched his second bid for the White House on Tuesday, taking direct aim at Donald Trump in an announcement that called the incumbent a “racist” and a “pathological liar.”
Sanders, 77, joins an already crowded field of candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to run against Trump in 2020.
A self-described democratic socialist, Sanders made a competitive but unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2016, though its progressive themes inspired a younger generation of voters and left a major impact on the Democratic Party.
‘A Pivotal and Dangerous Moment’
Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, highlighted policies he will advocate on the campaign trail: guaranteeing healthcare for all as a right, raising the minimum wage to a “living wage” of $15-per-hour, and combatting climate change with a “Green New Deal.”
“Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice,” Sanders said.
He vowed to take on “powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life,” listing Wall Street, health insurance companies and the military-industrial complex.
“We are living in a pivotal and dangerous moment in American history. We are running against a president who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction,” Sanders said in a video.
I'm running for president. I am asking you to join me today as part of an unprecedented and historic grassroots campaign that will begin with at least 1 million people from across the country. Say you're in: https://t.co/KOTx0WZqRf pic.twitter.com/T1TLH0rm26
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 19, 2019
“Now more than ever, we need leadership that brings us together, not divides us up,” he said.
Trump’s campaign quickly hit back, saying that while Democrats may have embraced ideas Sanders advocates, the American people have not.
“Bernie Sanders has already won the debate in the Democrat primary, because every candidate is embracing his brand of socialism,” the Trump campaign said in a statement.
“But the American people will reject an agenda of sky-high tax rates, government-run health care and coddling dictators like those in Venezuela.”
Complete the ‘Revolution’
Sanders gave an outline Tuesday of how he will campaign.
“What I promise to do is, as I go around the country, is to take the values that all of us in Vermont are proud of – a belief in justice, in community, in grassroots politics, in town meetings – that’s what I’m going to carry all over this country,” he said in an interview with Vermont Public Radio.
In his video, Sanders said he aims to run “an unprecedented grass-roots campaign of one million active volunteers in every state in our country.”
Sanders benefitted from just such a groundswell in 2016 but lost the Democratic nomination to establishment favorite Hillary Clinton, who enjoyed the backing of the nearly all the party’s unelected “super-delegates” as well as the support of the Democratic National Committee.
Clinton, in turn, was defeated by Trump, a billionaire who campaigned as a populist outsider.
Sanders garnered passionate support among young liberals with his calls for universal health care, a higher minimum wage, and free public university education.
In his announcement video, Sanders said the policies he advocated in 2016 campaign have made their way into the political mainstream and it is now time to “complete that revolution.”
“We were told that our ideas were ‘radical’ and they were ‘extreme,'” he said.
“We were told that Medicare for all, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, free tuition at public colleges and universities, aggressively combatting climate change, demanding that the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes – we were told that all of these concepts were ideas that the American people would never accept,” Sanders said.
“All of these policies and more are now supported by a majority of Americans. Together, you and I and our 2016 campaign, began the political revolution. Now it is time to complete that revolution and implement the vision that we fought for.”
More on the Subject
In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 election, a group of disaffected former Bernie Sanders campaign officials and progressive media personalities quietly formed an organization with a simple mission: to take over the Democratic Party and remold it in their own vision.
Justice Democrats, a registered Political Action Committee, was forged in January of 2017 around a vision for a new future for the Democratic Party.
Embracing their role as outsiders, Justice Democrats recruited and organized with dozens of candidates running in the 2018 midterm primaries. One of those candidates was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old latina woman from the Bronx who had been working at a New York bar before running for Congress.