Sen. Bernie Sanders’s former campaign manager says the Vermont independent is taking a good look at whether he should attempt a second presidential campaign.
“He is considering another run for the presidency,” Jeff Weaver said in an interview with C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” on Tuesday when asked whether Sanders’s supporters would get to vote for him in 2020. “And when the time comes, I think we’ll have an answer to that, but right now, he’s still considering it.”
Sanders, who suffered a bitter defeat to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary, has repeatedly refused to discuss his plans for the next presidential cycle. But the liberal firebrand has kept himself in the national spotlight, campaigning for progressive 2018 candidates, traveling to battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, and hosting live-streamed town halls that have drawn millions of viewers online.
Weaver, meanwhile, has been keeping tabs on 2020 issues too. He has been a constant presence at a series of meetings of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws committee this year, as it works through potential changes to the presidential primary, including a likely reduction in the number of superdelegates. Weaver was more than an observer at these meetings — he frequently huddled and conversed with members of the committee, a clear sign of interest on the part of Sanders’s top adviser in how the primary will be structured.
In a recent interview with Salon, Weaver said he was appointed by Sanders to work on reforms that he hopes will “go a long way toward helping to heal” the wounds exposed by the bitter primary battle.
Weaver also dismissed concerns about Sanders’s age. Sanders will turn 79 in 2020, which would make him the oldest U.S. president ever elected. (President Trump, who turns 72 next month, currently holds that distinction.)
“Anybody who follows Bernie Sanders for one day and sees his schedule, and how rigorous it is, and how he drives everybody around him, works them into the ground with the amount of work and energy he has, I think they would understand that his chronological age is just not really a measure of his true age,” Weaver said. “[He] is an extremely energetic and vigorous person, and has more energy, I would say, than people half his age.”
Last week, Sanders formally announced he will seek reelection in Vermont, where he has served as a U.S. senator since 2006, after serving as the state’s lone congressman for 16 years.
Earlier this month, Sanders appeared along with several possible 2020 candidates at the annual conference of the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., where he delivered a speech that was notably similar to the one that launched his 2016 presidential campaign.
In his speech, Sanders stressed the need for unity in taking on Trump.
“We live in an unprecedented moment in American history, and we need an unprecedented response,” he said. “Together — black, white, Latino, Native American, Asian American, women and men, gay and straight, young and old — we must not allow Donald Trump or anyone else to divide us up. Because when we stand together as one people, united, fighting for a progressive agenda, there is nothing, nothing, nothing that we cannot accomplish.”
Additional reporting by Jon Ward
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