U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, revealed through the Associated Press (AP) yesterday that he plans to announce by March whether to run for President of the United States in the 2016 election. Sanders, a self-identified Socialist who champions against income inequality, says he will make a “gut decision” about whether to run. Though often touted as a potential presidential candidate, Sanders has never made a run for the presidency.
Sanders, 73, entered politics in the 1970s, running for various races in Vermont as a member of the anti-war Liberty Union Party. He was elected Mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981 as an independent and won re-election three successive times. In 1990, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, representing Vermont. After serving in that capacity for 16 years, Sanders won election to the United States Senate, where he has remained.
Sanders cites the United States wealth gap as “collapsing” the nation’s middle class, but says a cure exists in his twelve step solution, which includes infrastructure projects, fair trade, and alternative energy. Nevertheless, Sanders told the AP his decision on 2016 rests on whether he believes he can win the election.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008, figures to be the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic nomination. Experts are divided on how a Sanders candidacy would affect her prospects.
Democratic National Committee member Kathy Sullivan says Sanders may be “a step too far for the mainstream” of the party. But former New Hampshire State Senator Peter Burling argues Sanders can deliver with passion, something he says that Clinton lacks.
Other potential candidates for the Democratic nomination include Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, and Vice President Joe Biden. Former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has opened an exploratory committee to determine whether he will run in 2016.
If Sanders decides to run for president, question remains on whether he runs as a Democrat or an independent.