Bernie Sanders is running for president again. He made the announcement Tuesday, promising bold policy ideas that will empower everyday Americans to challenge the wealthy and powerful.
“We're gonna win,” the Vermont senator told CBS’ John Dickerson. “We are gonna also launch what I think is unprecedented in modern American history, and that is a grassroots movement, John, which will have at least one million people from every state in this country, coming together to not only defeat Donald Trump, not only to win the Democratic nomination but also to lay the groundwork for transforming the economic and political life of this country.”
It sounds a lot like Sanders circa 2016, when he earned rock-star status with young voters by backing single-payer healthcare and other progressive policies. But he’s coming out for his encore only to find his opponents are remixing his greatest hits. Nearly all of them support Medicare for All. And a lot of them are offering up progressive goodies of their own, from Elizabeth Warren’s universal child-care plan to Cory Booker’s proposed “baby bonds.”
Sanders says this is a feature of his campaign, not a bug.
“All of those ideas and many more are now part of the political mainstream, and a majority of the American people now support them,” Sanders, 77, told CBS. “So what this campaign is about is understanding that three years ago we began the political revolution. Now it's time to complete that revolution and to take that vision and implement it into reality.”
He's also trying to stand out by forcefully taking on President Trump, calling him a “racist” and a “sexist” on Day 1 of his new campaign. But that effort will be complicated by Sanders’ struggle to win over black voters in 2016; by the perception of his followers as “Bernie Bros”; and by accusations that multiple 2016 campaign aides sexually harassed staffers.
Mostly, though, it will be complicated by the fact that what made him a trailblazer last time—his bold policy agenda—now just makes him part of a very large and diverse pack of competitors.
This segment originally aired February 19, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.