Bernie Sanders announced today that he is running again for the Democratic presidential nomination and I immediately sent in a contribution. Within four hours of his announcement he had raised $1 million. He is also seeking to sign up one million campaign volunteers, and that would be great because the only way you defeat the big money contributors who run things is with people power. As he says, “They may have the money and power. We have the people.” I think that he is someone who can dish it out to Trump the way he deserves, with Sanders calling him 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”.”
His platform, given below, consists of measures that I can fully endorse. When he ran four years ago, people dismissed many of his proposals as naïve and unrealistic. Now pretty much all the Democratic candidates have adopted them, showing how much he has changed the conversation. Sanders, like Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, has been fighting for these socialist values all his life, convinced that they would eventually resonate with voters and I think that time is near. If he does not win the nomination I am pretty sure that whoever does win it, especially if it is Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown, will have endorsed many of the same issues and ditch the neoliberal triangulation rubbish that the Clintons espoused. For that very reason, be prepared for the neoliberals in the Democratic party to wage all out attacks on Sanders and those who adopt that kind of platform, just like the neoliberal Blairite rump wing of the Labour party are attacking and undermining Corbyn. Bernie’s message echoes that of Labour’s campaign slogan “For the many, not the few”.
Matt Taibbi also weighs in on what Sanders candidacy portends.
A second Sanders presidential campaign is bound to suffuse the Democratic primary with intense drama, as he represents one side of a profound argument tearing across the globe about populism.
From the “yellow vest” protests in France, to the rise of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in Britain, to the anti-austerity movements seen in Greece, the Netherlands to Germany, voters are increasingly rejecting the neoliberal, corporate-backed economic policies that have dominated Western democracies for a generation.
He is running less against specific opponents like Sens. Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren than against decades of pro-corporate policies endorsed by both parties, dating back to NAFTA and the deregulation of Wall Street.
This system-wide criticism has not endeared him to party leaders. To say Sanders is a controversial figure in Democratic circles is a great understatement.
Campaign post-mortems from 2016 like Shattered and Chasing Hillary, as well as the WikiLeaks dump of DNC and John Podesta emails, made clear what everyone in Washington already knew: the apparatchiks who run the Party and sit in Democrat-aligned think-tanks dislike Sanders with the heat of a thousand suns. In some quarters, he may be resented more than Trump, among other things because he represents a brand of politics that takes aim at many Beltway sinecures.
Sanders can expect diffident treatment at best by the bulk of the commentators on TV and at papers like the Washington Post and the New York Times. In those outlets, he’s regularly derided as a line-jumping socialist peddling simplistic thinking, a “geriatric Che,” as Chasing Hillary chronicler Amy Chozick put it.
A Yahoo! report from earlier this year suggesting Sanders would “imminently” announce his 2020 run inspired outrage on social media. On Twitter, a seemingly bot-driven #NeverBernie hashtag coalesced almost immediately.
The Times earlier this year ran a piece asking:
Will candidates sprint to the left on issues and risk hurting themselves with intraparty policy fights and in the general election?
This point of view is based upon the idea that the party’s mainstream of voters does not want reduced military spending, free college tuition, expanded Social Security, legalized marijuana, a $15 minimum wage, breakups of Too-Big-To-Fail banks and other policies deemed electoral liabilities.
The Sanders campaign is centered on the idea that a majority of voters long ago came to embracethese positions. For this reason, Sanders feels he may be pushing the party in a direction that’s more electable, not less.
Robert Mackey also dicusses the Sanders campaign.
Here is Sanders’s announcement with the transcript below.
Sisters and Brothers –
I am writing to let you know I have decided to run for president of the United States. I am asking you to join me today as part of an unprecedented and historic grassroots campaign that will begin with at least a million people from across the country.
Our campaign is not only about defeating Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history. It is not only about winning the Democratic nomination and the general election.
Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.
Our campaign is about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life. I’m talking about Wall Street, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military industrial complex, the private prison industry and the large multinational corporations that exert such an enormous influence over our lives.
Our campaign is about redoubling our efforts to end racism, sexism, homophobia, religious bigotry and all forms of discrimination.
Our campaign is about creating a vibrant democracy with the highest voter turnout of any major country while we end voter suppression, Citizens United and outrageous levels of gerrymandering.
Our campaign is about creating a government and economy that work for the many, not just the few. We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. We should not have grotesque levels of wealth inequality in which three billionaires own more wealth than the bottom half of the country.
We should not have 30 million Americans without any health insurance, even more who are underinsured and a nation in which life expectancy is actually in decline.
We should not have an economy in which tens of millions of workers earn starvation wages and half of older workers have no savings as they face retirement.
We should not have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country on Earth and a dysfunctional childcare system which is unfair to both working parents and their children.
We should not have a regressive tax system in which large, profitable corporations like Amazon pay nothing in federal income taxes.
Make no mistake about it. The powerful special interests in this country have unbelievable power and they want to maintain the status quo. They have unlimited amounts of money to spend on campaigns and lobbying and have huge influence over the media and political parties.
The only way we will win this election and create a government and economy that work for all is with a grassroots movement – the likes of which has never been seen in American history.
They may have the money and power. We have the people. That is why we need one million Americans who will commit themselves to this campaign.
Stand with me as we fight to win the Democratic nomination and the general election. Add your name to join this campaign and say you are willing to do the hard work necessary to transform our country.
You know as well as I do that 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.
I’m running for president because, now more than ever, we need leadership that brings us together – not divides us up. Women and men, black, white, Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight, young and old, native born and immigrant. Now is the time for us to stand together.
I’m running for president because we need leadership that will fight for working families and the shrinking middle class, not just the 1 percent. We need a president who understands that we can create millions of good-paying jobs, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and construct the affordable housing we desperately need.
I’m running for president because we need trade policies that reflect the interests of workers and not multi-national corporations. We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, provide pay equity for women and guarantee all workers paid family and medical leave.
I’m running for president because we need to understand that artificial intelligence and robotics must benefit the needs of workers, not just corporate America and those who own that technology.
I’m running for president because a great nation is judged not by how many billionaires and nuclear weapons it has, but by how it treats the most vulnerable – the elderly, the children, our veterans, the sick and the poor.
I’m running for president because we need to make policy decisions based on science, not politics. We need a president who understands that climate change is real, is an existential threat to our country and the entire planet, and that we can generate massive job creation by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
I’m running for president because the time is long overdue for the United States to join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare-for-all program.
I’m running for president because we need to take on the outrageous level of greed of the pharmaceutical industry and lower prescription drug prices in this country.
I’m running for president because we need to have the best educated workforce in the world. It is totally counterproductive for our future that millions of Americans are carrying outrageous levels of student debt, while many others cannot afford the high cost of higher education. That is why we need to make public colleges and universities tuition free and lower student debt.
I’m running for president because we must defend a woman’s right to control her own body against massive political attacks taking place at the local, state and federal level.
I’m running for president because we need real criminal justice reform. We need to invest in jobs and education for our kids, not more jails and incarceration. We need to end the destructive “war on drugs,” eliminate private prisons and cash bail and bring about major police department reform.
I’m running for president because we need to end the demonization of undocumented immigrants in this country and move to comprehensive immigration reform. We need to provide immediate legal status for the young people eligible for the DACA program and develop a humane policy for those at the border who seek asylum.
I’m running for president because we must end the epidemic of gun violence in this country. We need to take on the NRA, expand background checks, end the gun show loophole and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons.
I’m running for president because we need a foreign policy which focuses on democracy, human rights, diplomacy and world peace. The United States must lead the world in improving international cooperation in the fight against climate change, militarism, authoritarianism and global wealth inequality.
That is why we need at least a million people to join our campaign and help lead the movement that can accomplish these goals. Add your name to say we’re in this together.
Needless to say, there is a lot of frightening and bad news in this world. Now, let me give you some very good news.
Three years ago, during our 2016 campaign, when we brought forth our progressive agenda we were told that our ideas were “radical” and “extreme.” We were told that Medicare for All, a $15 an hour minimum wage, free tuition at public colleges and universities, aggressively combating climate change, demanding that the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes, were all concepts that the American people would never accept.
Well, three years have come and gone. And, as result of millions of Americans standing up and fighting back, 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.
So here is my question for you:
Will you stand with me as part of a million person grassroots movement which can not only win the Democratic primary, not only win the general election, but most importantly help transform this country so that, finally, we have a government that works for all of us and not just the few? Add your name to say you will.
Together we can create a nation that leads the world in the struggle for peace and for economic, racial, social and environmental justice.
And together we can defeat Donald Trump and repair the damage he has done to our country.
Brothers and sisters, if we stand together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.
I hope you will join me.
Thank you very much.