Come On In, Bernie Sanders! The Water's Fine!
Bernie Sanders, the guy who did the most to make it socially acceptable to call oneself a democratic socialist again, announced today he's running for president in 2020. He made the announcement in an email to the huge mailing list he compiled during his 2016 run, then hurried to get Vermont Public Radio on the phone for first interview bragging rights, even before releasing his official announcement video to the YouTubes. He told morning host Bob Kinzel he wanted the people of Vermont to "know about this first," and went on,
And what I promise to do is, as I go around the country, is to take the values that all of us in Vermont are proud of — a belief in justice, in community, in grassroots politics, in town meetings — that's what I'm going to carry all over this country.
Also, we have to say VPR's promotional logo on its website is just adorable.
Here's Bernie's announcement video, which, in contrast to Cory Booker's slick zoom-wow announcement vid (yep, it stayed with us), goes with the Candidate Talking To You Personally approach:
There's still a lot to like in Bernie's pitch. He points out it's frankly obscene that our politics and economy are tilted to serve the interests of the ruling billionaire class over the rest of America, and decries America's "grotesque level of wealth inequality, in which three billionaires now own more wealth than the bottom half of the country." Fact check: True.
Sanders also threw some not very subtle shade at billionaire dipshit Howard Schultz, and it is lol:
“There are a lot of people I know personally who work hard for a living, who make $40,000, $50,000 a year who know… https://t.co/tXjhugdbvE— CBS This Morning (@CBS This Morning)1550579276.0
But Sanders faces, as they say, a very different primary landscape for 2020 than he did in 2016 when it was mostly just him and Hillary Clinton plus, for fifteen minutes, some other people we don't remember O'Malleymuch (and others even Lessig). Instead of facing one big frontrunner, Sanders is now jumping into a field of other economic populists who, like Bernie, favor Medicare for All, taxing the rich, and building a diverse coalition to push for change from the left, and isn't that terrific? Welcome to the hubbub, Bub. Also, talk about convenient timing from one of those candidates:
Bernie announcing he’s in this morning makes the timing of Warren’s call last night for every candidate to release… https://t.co/vyvi41pqeu— Charles Gaba (@Charles Gaba)1550581737.0
OK, fine, looks like it was actually last week that she made the call, but the point stands.
We're inclined to agree with this statement from Democracy for America's executive director, Yvette Simpson:
In 2016, Senator Bernie Sanders rewrote the playbook of presidential politics and inspired a nationwide, grassroots movement that has helped transformed the range of the politically possible ever since.
Blessed with a diverse field of candidates committed to inclusive populist reforms, we're looking forward to seeing how Sanders and the movement behind him makes the case for 'political revolution' in a very different 2020 contest.
We still like Bernie, and we also like that he's not the only lefty flavor in the party. We're glad he's pushed a lot of the issues that are going to be at the heart of the campaign, and he'll be a welcome voice calling for what a lot of other people are finally calling for. Now all we have to do is keep the focus on those issues and who can articulate them best without driving ourselves crazy with infighting over the 2016 primary, and we should have a terrific debate. That will surely happen, don't you think?
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