Known in the U.S. Senate as the longest serving Independent in congressional history, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced his bid for the 2016 Presidential Democratic Primary today.
As the first real liberal challenger to Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, Sanders maintains his ideological distance from mainstream Democrats by self-describing as a “democratic socialist.”
Sanders is a long time firebrand who has earned praise from progressives for his criticisms of big banks and condemnation of the concentration of wealth in America. While Clinton is also tracking left, she will never outflank Sanders from that direction.
He has at least one potent arrow – taking a tough stand against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal between the U.S., Canada, and China that Clinton helped negotiate.
Can Bernie Sanders Beat Hillary Clinton?
On Sanders’ long list of hopeful leftist reforms lands universal health care, a massive infrastructure and jobs building program, a more progressive tax structure, and reforms to address the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Sanders has already made a minor splash with progressive Democrats disenchanted with Clinton in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
The latest polling data shows Sanders with three times the amount of support as Martin O’Malley, the former Democratic governor of Maryland.
The 73-year-old Brooklyn native will follow his announcement with a major campaign kickoff in his home state of Vermont in the coming weeks.
Check out his TV ad from his congressional campaign in 1990.
Also, here are some excerpts from Sanders’ full statement from @aseitzwald on Twitter.