“Our campaign is not only about defeating Donald Trump,” the 77-year-old said in an email to supporters. “Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”
An enthusiastic progressive who embraces proposals ranging from Medicare for All to free college tuition, Sanders stunned the Democratic establishment in 2016 with his spirited challenge to Hillary Clinton. While she ultimately became the party’s nominee, his campaign helped lay the groundwork for the leftward lurch that has dominated Democratic politics in the Trump era.
The question now for Sanders is whether he can stand out in a crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates who also embrace many of his policy ideas and are newer to the national political stage. That’s far different from 2016, when he was Clinton’s lone progressive adversary.
Still, there is no question that Sanders will be a formidable contender for the Democratic nomination. He won more than 13 million votes in 2016 and dozens of primaries and caucuses. He opens his campaign with a nationwide organization and a proven small-dollar fundraising effort.
“We’re gonna win,” Sanders told CBS.
He said he was going to launch “what I think is unprecedented in modern American history”: a grassroots movement “to lay the groundwork for transforming the economic and political life of this country.”
Sanders described his new White House bid as a “continuation of what we did in 2016,” noting that policies he advocated for then are now embraced by the Democratic Party.
“You know what’s happened in over three years?” he said. “All of these ideas and many more are now part of the political mainstream.”