(Reuters) – Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the longest-serving independent member of the U.S. Congress, will announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, Vermont Public Radio reported on Tuesday.
He will release a short statement and hold a campaign kickoff event in subsequent weeks, the radio said, citing several sources. The senator’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
What will a Sanders candidacy mean? Will he press Secretary Clinton on issues progressives are concerned about? Is a contested primary good for the Democratic Party?
From USA Today: 6 things to know about Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is the longest-serving independent member of Congress in history. He has caucused with Democrats since his days as Vermont’s lone congressman, beginning in 1991, but he considers himself a democratic socialist. […]
Sanders is the son of a New York-born mother and Polish-Jewish immigrant father, who worked most of his life as a paint salesman. He has said his lower-middle-class upbringing in Brooklyn taught him what economic insecurity means to a family. He and his wife, Jane, have four children – Levi, Heather, Carina, and David – and seven grandchildren.
He now says he is not actively involved in organized religion. But in terms of economic justice, he said, “I find myself very close to the teachings of Pope Francis.” He described the pope as “incredibly smart and brave.”
What do you think?
UPDATED 4/30/2015: From Bernie’s Twitter Stream
From the Sanders Senate News Site (links from the news site)
Thursday, April 30, 2015
‘I’m Running’ Promising to fight “obscene levels” of income disparity and a campaign finance system that is a “real disgrace,” independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday he will run for president as a Democrat, The Associated Press reported. Sanders on Thursday announced he would seek the 2016 nomination “in a bid likely to pressure Hillary Clinton from the left and challenge her on financial issues,” Reuters reported. “I’ve been traveling around the country for the last year trying to ascertain whether there really is grassroots support in terms of people standing up and being prepared to take on the billionaire class,” Sanders said in an interview Wednesday with USA Today and the Burlington Free Press. “I believe that there is.” On “Good Morning America,” ABC News’ Jonathan Karl said Sanders is “a long shot to be sure with a fiery message about taking on big money interests.”
‘I Love this Country’ Sen. Sanders plans to forge as a progressive political revolution. “I love this country,” Sanders said in an interview Wednesday with the New Hampshire Union Leader, which said he’s motivated to run to address the “decline in the middle class and the unbelievable levels of income inequality.”
‘Don’t Underestimate Me’ Sen. Sanders is running for president, presenting competition from the political left to front-runner Hillary Clinton “People should not underestimate me,” Sanders said. “I’ve run outside of the two-party system, defeating Democrats and Republicans, taking on big-money candidates and, you know, I think the message that has resonated in Vermont is a message that can resonate all over this country,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Sanders’ Goals Avoiding the fanfare that several Republicans have chosen so far when announcing their candidacies, Mr. Sanders issued a statement to supporters that laid out his goals for reducing income inequality, addressing climate change and scaling back the influence of money in politics, The New York Times reported online.
Sanders’ Priorities Sen. Sanders has been pushing for higher taxes on the rich and more money for programs serving the middle class and poor since long before talk of income inequality became fashionable. He has long supported creating a public health care system similar to Canada’s and Britain’s. He favors equal pay for women, a higher minimum wage and stronger labor rights. He frequently expresses outrage that a “billionaire class” has taken too much control over the American political and economic systems, and labeled it “beyond belief” when the House voted last month to provide $269 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy. He has backed legislation to crack down on offshore tax havens, provide more youth jobs, expand Social Security and increase the estate tax. He supports a five-year, $1 trillion plan to rebuild roads, bridges and other infrastructure. He says that would create 13 million jobs, AP reported.
Sanders’ Passion “If Sanders can harness the energy coursing through the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, he can make the issues he is passionate about central to the campaign and force Mrs. Clinton to embrace more liberal positions on economic issues, much as she has done lately on cultural issues,” The New York Times blogged.
Sanders’ Policies “He’s staked out numerous positions over the years that are considerably more progressive than those embraced by more mainstream Democrats,” according to CBS News. Sanders “has advocated for increases to Medicare and Social Security benefits and pushed for ending tax cuts for the wealthy,” ABC News reported. “The likely effect – and intent – of a Sanders challenge is to push both Clinton’s campaign and her administration, if there is one, further left, thus consolidating liberal control of the party,” Charles Lane wrote for The Washington Post.
White House ’16 Sanders was called “a champion of the progressive movement” on WMUR-TV in Manchester, New Hampshire. Sanders “is a man on a mission,” political analyst Chris Graff told WCAX-TV. Sanders appeals to the people who participate in the primaries, Mark Plotkin said on BBC radio. His candidacy also was covered by WPTZ-TV, CNN, Bloomberg, The Huffington Post, NPR and others. With double-digit ratings in multiple polls, Sanders is a leading opponent to Hillary Clinton, The Washington Examiner reported.