Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) appears to be poised to declare his intent to run for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday.
According to a Sanders advisor who spoke to New Hampshire ABC affiliate WMUR, the Vermont senator is expected to announce his presidential campaign on Tuesday in an email to his millions of supporters. The email will likely include a campaign video that Sanders purportedly recorded last week.
Given that Sanders repeatedly broke fundraising records in 2016 with small-dollar contributions that came from his email list, the 2016 second-place primary finisher will likely use the email as a means of generating what will surely amount to a significant 2020 primary war chest. In the 2016 primary, Bernie Sanders was able to raise approximately $218 million from 2.8 million individual donors.
Along with his fundraising clout, the Vermont senator also has considerable grassroots organizing infrastructure already in place. Last month, Organizing for Bernie — a coalition of groups like Our Revolution, Progressive Democrats of America, and The People for Bernie Sanders — announced nearly 400 house party events in all 50 states across the country aimed at bolstering support for a potential presidential run. Organizers will likely immediately begin organizing in their communities to drum up support for Sanders ahead of their respective primaries and caucuses.
“If Sen. Sanders announces his candidacy, Organizing for Bernie will immediately connect volunteers and supporters into the new Sanders campaign,” a press release announcing the house parties read. “The events are in all 50 states, including critical early primary states such as New Hampshire and Iowa as well as large states like California and Texas, which have moved their primaries up to Super Tuesday.”
While one criticism of his 2016 campaign was that he was out of touch with people of color, Sen. Sanders’ poll numbers suggest he’s made inroads with key Democratic constituencies. A poll released in December found that Sanders has the most support among nonwhite voters, garnering even more support than Biden or Senator Kamala Harris (D-California), who has emerged as an early 2020 frontrunner.
Sanders — who has been serving as Senate Democrats’ outreach chair since 2016 — also has nationwide popularity and name recognition. In the weeks leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, Bernie Sanders attracted massive crowds of supporters at campaign stops stumping for various Democrats running for U.S. House and Senate and various governorships across the country. Some of the candidates he endorsed ended up winning elections in tight contests, including Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada), and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D).
If he indeed declares his campaign Tuesday, he’ll likely be seen as the top contender along with former Vice President Joe Biden. A Morning Consult poll released after the 2018 midterms showed Biden and Sanders as the top two most popular picks among Democratic presidential candidates, even though neither one had yet formally declared their intent to run. An unnamed source told The Hill last week that Biden was “95 percent there” in terms of being ready to announce his campaign.
While Biden will likely capture the centrist vote, Bernie Sanders has stiff competition vying for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party with progressive icon Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). Sen. Warren’s platform is unapologetically progressive, with the senior senator from Massachusetts calling for a new tax on wealth, which she says would raise more than $2 trillion over ten years. The proposal is popular with a majority of Americans, and even half of Republicans.
Bernie Sanders is expected to run on Medicare for All — a policy he championed that is now seen as a litmus test for all Democratic candidates — as well as his federal jobs guarantee, in which all Americans would be guaranteed a decent-paying job with benefits due to a massive investment in public sector infrastructure expansion.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.