Western Courier

Sanders in the running for next election

Samuel Ogali, Courier Staff

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On Tuesday, February 19th, Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders announced that he was running for president of the United States in 2020.

Within 24 hours of announcing, Sanders raised more than $6 million from more than 225,000 small donors. Whether you agree or disagree with Sanders’ candidacy, you can’t deny his campaign will be a force to be reckoned with in the Democratic primary; to think, only four years ago Sanders’ candidacy for the presidency was anything but widely known or given any chance to succeed.

When Sanders announced his first candidacy for president in 2015, his recognition among the electorate was widely unknown. Outside of the his home state of Vermont, Sanders was polling less than 5 percent compared to Hillary Clinton, whose name overwhelmingly surpassed Sanders’; more people knew her from younger to older generations alike and saw her as the likely favorite.

Once Sanders and Clinton became the two contenders on the Democratic side, Sanders’ name recognition started to increase and once his name became more popular with the electorate, so were his chances at being a formidable candidate against Clinton. Sanders’ championed such policy proposals, like single-payer healthcare, tuition-free public college and a $15 minimum wage. Among the Democratic party establishment, Sanders’ ideas were unrealistic and not practical, but to a young electorate, Sanders’ was the person who they wanted to be the next president.

As the primary process started to conclude, it was obvious that Clinton had maintained a significant lead over Sanders’ and was likely seen as the nominee moving forward, but Sanders’ broad grass roots support was seeing the process through until the end, no matter what. Then a Wikileaks dump of John Podesta’s emails, Clinton’s campaign chair, revealed that then-Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz actively tried to help the Clinton campaign over Sanders’ during the primaries, violating its own rules. Sanders’ supporters were outraged; it had confirmed what they’d been speculating the entire time that the DNC never wanted Sanders’ to be the nominee and would do whatever it took to make sure it didn’t happen.

However, Sanders’ response was anything but outraged. Donald Trump had won the nomination for the Republican Party; Sanders’ only focus at that point was to make sure Trump was not elected president and the only way to do that was to brush aside his criticism of his former opponent in order to get her elected.

From then on, Sanders’ became a surrogate for Clinton and urged his supporters to vote for her in the general election. Some Sanders’ supporters came around understanding the alternative to Clinton, but some refused to support Clinton and either didn’t vote or voted for another candidate on the ballot.

On Election Day, Clinton was defeated by Trump who would become the 45th U.S. president. Since Trump’s presidency, Sanders’ has returned to the Senate, but this time with broad name recognition and legions of supporters beside him. Sanders’ has pushed back against proposals and policies by the Trump administration, like family separation at the southern border and the Republican tax bill, as well as continuing to push his initiatives for single-payer health care and tuition-free college. Anything Sanders does, people seem to be paying attention.

Now it’s 2020, and Bernie Sanders is running for president again. In 2016, many people knew little of the Vermont Senator, but now the entire Democratic party will have to accept him, whether they like it or not.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Sanders in the running for next election