Democrats who felt the Bern in 2016 may get another chance in two years.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is not ruling out another run for the president in 2020. In an interview with New York magazine, the 77-year-old laid out his thinking on whether he would once again attempt to win the Democratic nomination.
“If there’s somebody else who appears who can, for whatever reason, do a better job than me, I’ll work my ass off to elect him or her,” Sanders said. “If it turns out that I am the best candidate to beat Donald Trump, then I will probably run.”
Polling on the hypothetical Democratic field for 2020 shows Sanders in second place to former Vice President Joe Biden. A November Politico/Morning Consult poll showed Biden as the leading choice among Democrats with 26 percent. Sanders earned 19 percent support while Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who gained national exposure for his narrowly losing campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz, came in third with 8 percent. A Reuters poll released a week earlier reported similar findings, with Biden earning the top spot with 29 percent support, Sanders at 22 percent and a statistical third-place tie between California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Sanders’s 2016 candidacy helped move the Democratic Party to the left on issues such as health care, and as a result he was able to consolidate a large percentage of the progressive vote.
The runner-up in 2016 for the Democratic nomination, Sanders earned 46 percent of pledged delegates to Hillary Clinton’s 54 percent. His strong showing, however, may have been aided by a systematic effort by a large-scale Russian disinformation campaign that targeted Clinton and left Sanders unscathed.
“By the time 2016 came around, it was very clear that [the Russians] had four campaign messages that they wanted to push. The first one was very anti-Hillary Clinton, and that was from the beginning. The second one was very pro-Trump,” former FBI agent Clint Watts told the Yahoo News podcast ‘Bots & Ballots.’ The third one was when the hacking kicked in, which was that Bernie Sanders got a raw deal from the DNC, and you can see that in these hacked emails. That’s really when we started to see that hacking was starting to power influence. And the last one, which was very minor, was that you still need to show up for Jill Stein. So, the equation was quite clear. It was, How do we elevate Trump to the top spot and sort of suppress Clinton turnout and people wanting to support her?”
Another factor weighing heavily on the leading Democratic candidates for 2020 is age. Biden turned 76 in November, yet most polls show both him and Sanders easily beating Trump, who is 72. Many Democrats, however, are hoping the party will nominate someone much younger than the current president.
“I personally intend to support somebody who is young,” Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and presidential candidate told Yahoo News. “My preference is someone under 50. I think it’s time we turned the page on my generation’s culture wars.”
For now, at least, Sanders continues to keep his options open, even as he insists the fire in his belly for the presidency is only at medium-hot.
“I’m not one of those sons of multimillionaires whose parents told them they were going to become president of the United States,” Sanders told New York. “I don’t wake up in the morning with any burning desire that I have to be president.”
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