Bernie Sanders Set To Enter Presidential Race

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is preparing a second run at the White House, but this race won't be anything like 2016.

To the surprise of very few, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is set to announce his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic nomination:

Three years after fighting a surprisingly competitive Democratic primary race against Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, is making another run for the White House.

Two sources with direct knowledge of his plans told Yahoo News that Sanders, an independent and self-described “democratic socialist,” plans to announce his presidential bid imminently. While Sanders has been considering a bid for months, one of the sources said he was emboldened by early polls of the race that have consistently showed him as one of the top candidates in a crowded Democratic primary field. In particular, the source said Sanders was heartened to see numbers indicating he is one of the leading candidates among African American and Latino voters, two groups he was perceived as struggling with in 2016

The source also alluded to a spate of recent polls that show Sanders as the most popular politician in the country. They attributed Sanders’ strength in the polls to the base and name recognition he built with the prior presidential bid.

“What the senator has this time that he didn’t have last time is he is the most popular elected official in the country right now,” the source said. “That’s light years away from 2016, when very few people knew who he was.”

A third source said Sanders’ bid will begin with an exploratory committee. Sanders’ campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

In addition to these two sources, a former Sanders staffer who had not been briefed on the imminent announcement plans nevertheless said many recent signs suggest he is set to pull the trigger on a presidential campaign. Specifically, the former staffer said Sanders has been building out the infrastructure he would need for a White House bid.

“He’s already talking to staff and there are people he’s hiring. They’re nailing down contracts with vendors. … All the movement is there for him to run,” the ex-staffer said.

The fact that Sanders is running again hardly comes as a surprise, of course.  In many respects, he hasn’t really scaled back his national presence in the media and on the campaign trail from what it was during the 2016 campaign. Last year he concentrated on traveling to states where candidates that support his agenda and the so-called “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party notwithstanding the fact that he is not officially a member of the Democratic Party and has, as he has done in the past, turned down the nomination of the Vermont Democratic Party and run solely as a so-called independent even though his voting record is as much in line with the Senate Democratic Caucus as the most loyal member of that party. Throughout all of these visits, though, it has been clear that Sanders has been trying to keep himself in the national conversation in the Democratic Party as he ponders whether or not he will actually run in 2020, when he would be 79 years old and 83 years old at the end of a hypothetical first term in office in the event he actually won the election.

As with other candidates and potential candidates such as Joe Bide, 2020 is Sanders’ best and last shot at becoming President. He is, as I noted above 77 years old and would be 79 when running for President, 83 at the end of a hypothetical first term, and 87 at the end of a second term. He is older than any of the other potential candidates, including Warren and former Vice-President Joe Biden. If he does want to run, either for a realistic shot at the nomination or for the purpose of advancing his agenda, then this would be his last hurrah. At the same time, though,  it’s likely 2020 will end up being a far different race for Sanders than 2016 was. Back then, he had nobody competing for the votes and support of the progressive wing of the party. This time, he’ll have plenty of competition from younger candidates such as Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, and Kamala Harris, all of whom have already entered the race as well as potential candidates such as Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar. Additionally, Sanders is likely to face more scrutiny from reporters than he did in 2020, including questions about allegations of sexual harassment among his staff that was essentially swept under the rug. Add into this the fact that Democrats will likely be looking for a candidate that can both unite the party’s base and attract the voters in places such as the Midwest where Hillary Clinton essentially lost the election three years ago. Sanders doesn’t seem as if he’d be the right candidate for that job.


FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. MarkedMan says:

    If our resident Bernie Bros are any indication, this will get unpleasant really quickly. They started out by swooping in and spreading the word that Kamala Harris was a skank who sucked her way into a position of power. Given the personalities of Bernie and his Bros, I don’t think it’s going to get any better.

  2. Lynn says:

    I like Bernie; I like many of his ideas … but no. Bernie, stay home this round!

  3. Barry says:

    I see his two big problems as being:

    2) He’s no longer the left side of the part. That side has a lot of leaders and energy.

    1) The NYT and rest of the ‘liberal’ media don’t need him to ratf*ck Clinton. This is his biggest problem.

  4. Gustopher says:

    he is not officially a member of the Democratic Party and has, as he has done in the past, turned down the nomination of the Vermont Democratic Party

    And this is when I turned him down.

    I like a lot of Bernie’s ideas, but it turns out I just don’t like Bernie. I don’t like his insistence on being given special treatment — running in the Democratic primary in Vermont to clear the field, then refusing the nomination, so he can run as an independent without having to worry about a Democrat.

    I know it’s just some weird little tic of his, and probably doesn’t matter that much, but it just irritates me. The whole “I’m too pure to be a Democrat” thing.


    If he were to somehow win the Democratic Presidential nomination, and then not blow it by refusing the nomination and running as an independent and getting caught up in sore loser ballot access laws (ugh, again), I would vote for him over any Republican, but still… ugh.

    And, finally, ugh.

  5. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: I will give Bernie credit for saying that he was sick of hearing about Clinton’s emails, and that it wasn’t important.

    I think there is a vocal minority of his supporters who are vile, and that they don’t really represent him. He doesn’t do enough to discredit them, but they aren’t him.

    A lot of these are people who think “both parties are the same” — and, if you look at the decline of real wages over the st 50 years, both parties have presided over it and done nothing. He’s bringing these people into the realm of the Democratic Party, and they aren’t always well behaved because they really don’t like the Democratic Party.

    I do think that Bernie could do more to advance his cause by announcing that he is joining the Democratic Party than by staying independent. Encourage those people to join him in the Democratic Party and to change it from within.

    He’s old. He’s not going to be around forever, and he doesn’t have a successor in his left-of-the-Democrat’s crusade. When he dies, too many of his supporters will evaporate back into the unaligned, barely voting masses.

    Picking the lesser of two evils is not only picking less evil, but also putting yourself in a spot where you can influence that less evil to be even less evil.

  6. EddieinCA says:

    F Bernie. Seriously. EFF him.

    If he wants to run, let him join the Democratic Party. The party should make a rule that only DEMOCRATS can run for the Democratic Nomination.

    Asshole. I will do everything I can to bury Bernie.

  7. DrDaveT says:

    Unfortunately, now is not the time for Bernie. I’ve having trouble putting exactly why into words, but now is the time for a candidate that people who voted for Ronald Reagan (twice) and George W. Bush (twice, in spite of it all) can bring themselves to vote for. A candidate who offers Republicans a return to what they like to claim to believe in, while offering Democrats a return to actual regulation and governance, and some action on key social, economic, and environmental issues.

    That might be Joe Biden — I’m not convinced — but it sure ain’t Bernie. Even when Bernie is right about many things.

  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    I disagree, not as to Bernie who I find a tedious old gas bag devoid of charm and stuck around 1935. But as to what is needed now. Hillary lost because POC and the youth vote didn’t come out in full force for her. I think it’s time for Warren or Klobuchar or Beto, someone who can ignite the latent Democratic vote. The fascist revolution has crashed and burned, the country has swung left on health care which is a very central issue, and on income inequality. I think it’s time for a new direction, a push to actually solve problems.

    If we drag poor old Joe Biden into this we’re missing a historic opportunity. Time for someone clean, and as much as I like Biden, he was in bed with the big banks for a long time, and there are a lot of tapes of him trashing Anita Hill.

  9. James Pearce says:

    No senators.

  10. Mister Bluster says:

    @EddieinCA:..I will do everything I can to bury Bernie.

    What makes you think he will stay in his grave?

  11. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT: One of the weird bits of Trump’s campaign was that he spoke of economic populism, and that got a lot of support from Republicans and Independents. There’s polling data that showed this was secondary to race in boosting his support.

    He hasn’t really governed on it, except for a fig leaf of NAFTA 2.0 and not entering TPP. The tax cuts fly right in the face of his campaign rhetoric when he was saying that people like him should be paying more taxes.

    Meanwhile, Clinton was tied to Wall Street, and her Goldman-Sachs speeches were being brought up regularly, serving double duty as an antisemitic dog whistle.

    An economic populist *might* be the right message.

    I think the candidate is going to be more important than the message though.

  12. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I love Joe Biden. I think he would probably be the best President of any of the candidates, or at least that he is the one with the most, right experience.

    I don’t think he would get elected though. I don’t think he will make it through the primaries. Maybe he will surprise everyone, but I expect him to say that he wants to punch Donald Trump in the face (he’s said that before, hasn’t he?) and that people want a more positive and elevated race than angry white men trying to play alpha male dominance games.

    In a fist fight, Biden would win though. Also, he would bite. I would pay to see that.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    What do you call it when there is an elephant in the room, and people really aren’t noticing it? Bernie has real, serious tax return problems. He played the disheveled old professor long enough that he didn’t get caught out in 2016 but that isn’t going to fly this time. The fact that he is going for the Democratic nod without coming clean ranks up there with what John Edwards did.

  14. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The fascist revolution has crashed and burned

    This is where we disagree, I think. The fascist revolution should have crashed and burnt by now, under the weight of Brownback’s Kansas and kids in cages and health care sabotage and indictments and convictions and the revolving door cabinet and spineless Senators and all the rest.

    But it hasn’t. Not yet. Too many people are still in denial about reality. The transition we need is back to reality-based governance; trying to jump straight to the endgame would not (in my humble opinion) be likely to work.

    By all means, leverage the universal sentiments regarding health care and the Dreamers. But don’t for a minute believe that America is over its aversion to “Socialism!?” or its majority Christian theocratic tendencies or its libertarian fantasies or its meritocracy myth, just because 57% are now willing to admit that Trump ain’t all that.

  15. Modulo Myself says:


    The people in denial about reality are either old or they’re young people who have been brainwashed by their wealthy conservative parents. The GOP is literally waging a culture war on behalf of victimized prep school kids. That’s it. That’s who the struggle is about: kids whose rich parents and teachers are fine with them wearing a hat celebrating the grabbing of pussies to a pro-life rally. After all, sexual assault to own the intolerant libs is awesome.

    Democrats can do what they want on real issues: inequality, health insurance, climate change, a country not being run by antisocial billionaires or whining victimized Supreme Court justices. They have carte blanche. There’s no juice left in screaming about how bad Socialism is. They would be nuts to run Biden.

  16. Teve says:

    @Modulo Myself: there are still some trumpers smoking USDA Grade A Crack.

    Bill Mitchell
    1st mistake Dems make is assuming they are smarter than Trump. Trump’s intuitive mind is a super-computer. Perhaps that is why he occasionally makes awkward public remarks? He is a strategic savant. Instead of wasting energy on things like tact, his brain focuses on strategy.

  17. Modulo Myself says:


    Fairly certain that everybody who runs for President can ignore the Bill Mitchell demographic. It would be like trying to appeal to Ben Shapiro or somebody. Um, no thanks.

    Trump won because he promised a) that the world would revert to 1955 and b) liberals would stop being right. Both a) and b) did not and will not happen. The Democrats need to mock b) to death, but they also need to drag out of a) the idea of an economy that makes sense in 2020.

  18. grumpy realist says:

    Amazing the number of people who keep insisting that Trump is some super-genius and this is all some Master Plan.

    A “Master Plan” that surprisingly looks exactly like clueless bumbling around by a senile man-toddler….

  19. grumpy realist says:

    I’m starting to think that, like pilots, we should have an upper limit on the age of people running for the presidency. Or can we at least say No More Baby Boomers?

    Would need a constitutional amendment, though.

  20. Lynn says:

    @grumpy realist: “we should have an upper limit on the age of people running for the presidency”

    I’d like to see a decent physical/intellectual assessment on anyone running. I don’t know how it could be done objectively, however.

  21. DrDaveT says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Democrats can do what they want on real issues: inequality, health insurance, climate change, a country not being run by antisocial billionaires or whining victimized Supreme Court justices.

    No, they can’t. Not yet. Not without a whole lot of successful election campaigns that have not happened yet. The Fox News worldview may be discredited in your head (and mine), but it is thriving out in the voting public, even as we speak — and not just among the elderly.

    Prior to Trump, Nixon was the greatest gift the GOP ever gave to the Democrats — and they turned that gift into utter defeat less than 10 years later. We’re still living with the consequences. When the Democrats already own the White House, the House, and the Senate, and a majority of the Supreme Court justices are not Federalist Society hacks, then maybe Democrats can do what they want on real issues. That ain’t now, and there’s a lot of ways to screw up getting there.

  22. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I am a Democratic Socialist.

    I have been one since before it was a thing.

    That being said, Bernie is not what we need. While he may be the ideological polar opposite of Trump, he has the same ego, and the same ego-driven flaws.

    I agree with Reynolds:

    … the country has swung left on health care which is a very central issue, and on income inequality. I think it’s time for a new direction, a push to actually solve problems.

    Who that will be is yet to be determined, but it should not be someone in their 70’s or 80’s. Baby boom leadership has run itself out.

  23. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The fascist revolution has crashed and burned, the country has swung left on health care which is a very central issue, and on income inequality.

    The fascist revolution hasn’t crashed and burned — Trump has. A lot of people just want a better fascist.

    They might want a better fascist who delivers on universal healthcare. If we are being cynical, a universal healthcare that has death panels for “those people”.

    There are lots of Republican NeverTrumpers who support Trump on everything other than being obviously personally horrible.

    Mitt Romney reinvented himself as a “severe conservative” in 2012. Deep down, you know he’s looking for an opportunity to be a “kinder, gentler fascist” in 2020. Doesn’t he just look Presidential?

    By 2024, I expect we will have someone on the right saying “Good thing we don’t have that Wall — were going to make illegals hurt so much that a wall would only slow them down as they flee.” And isn’t that just Romney’s “self-deportation” policy?

    Trump’s base sees that uneducated white men are losing ground economically, they see that brown folks and women are less of an underclass than ever, and assume that those two things are connected.

    I think they are observing two things accurately, and drawing an invalid connection. I’d say the underclasses are clawing their way onto sinking lifeboats.

    But, until uneducated white men aren’t failing, they’ll keep blaming brown folks and women, and keep being susceptible to fascists and racist hate mongers.

    I’m pleased by AOC’s 70% marginal tax rate idea, and Warren’s wealth tax proposal. We need to either plug the holes in the leaky lifeboats, or drag the wealthy into them and give them an incentive to repair them. Also, the analogy needs to be repaired.

  24. Kylopod says:


    The tax cuts fly right in the face of his campaign rhetoric when he was saying that people like him should be paying more taxes.

    That’s correct. For example, here’s what he said during one of the debates:

    “And the answer is yes, we can help, but it’s going to take a different path, not the one we’ve been on, not…a top-down, cut taxes for the rich. That’s not what I’m going to do…. My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people. High-income people are doing just fine in this economy. They’ll do fine whether you’re president or I am.”

    Oh, wait. That wasn’t Trump. That was Mitt Romney in 2012.

    The fact is that there was very little new about Trump’s approach to taxes on the campaign trail. Just like Romney, the actual plan his campaign released was little more than a giveaway to the rich, with scraps left over for the middle class. And just like Romney, he lied about it and claimed his plan was aimed the middle class and that he would not be cutting taxes on the rich.

    There were real substantive differences between Trump’s campaign rhetoric and that of previous GOP nominees, particularly on the issue of trade. But it’s important to realize that his reputation as a “populist” used far more of the standard GOP playbook than is commonly acknowledged.

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Indeed! Especially the closing statement.

  26. Mister Bluster says:

    @grumpy realist:..Would need a constitutional amendment, though.

    Article V
    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

    Which method of amending the Constitution for the United States of America do you prefer, the United States Congress propose Amendments or a convention called by the legislatures of two thirds of the states propose Amendments?
    I am generally opposed to arbitrary age limits for anything.
    However I think an amendment is necessary to ban the use of astrologers as advisors to the executive.