Senator Sanders of Vermont, a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist,” officially announced on April 30 that he is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Throughout his political career, Sanders has been an Independent, though as a member of Congress, caucuses with the Democrats.
Now he’s jumping into the Democratic fray, so he can take part in primary debates. His three big issues will be income inequality, climate change, and campaign finance reform. In effect, he’s also a proxy for liberal darling Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) of Massachusetts, who isn’t running, despite a draft movement. But Sanders has his own fan base, and could play a critical role in keeping liberals energized.
Sanders has long said he believes the 2016 race needs a progressive voice. “The American people want real change, and I’ve been taking on the big money interests and the special interests all of my political life,” Sanders said on NBC's “Meet the Press” last Sept. 14.
Clintonites welcome his entry into the race, and see him as a “sparring partner” for Mrs. Clinton. Sanders was the mayor of Burlington, Vt., from 1981 to 1989. He was first elected to the US House of Representatives in 1990 and to the Senate in 2006.