The rumors have been circulating for a while, but the news is now finally official. Bernie Sanders has announced that he’s running for President of the United States again in 2020. Many of his followers are thrilled and according to polls, he could have a good chance of getting the Democratic nomination.
Bernie Sanders sent an email out early this morning to his followers announcing that he’s running for President of the United States.
Bernie Sanders is already off to a strong start. On February 1, CNN reported that Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren had the greatest cash advantage in 2020 over any other Democrats who were running or considering running. Even before announcing, Sanders already had more than $9.09 million in contributions.
Ads were running on Facebook at least a month before his announcement, talking about “if Bernie ran.” Subscribers to Bernie’s email list were receiving messages talking about the possibility of a run, long before the announcement. On January 28, Bernie Sanders’ official account sent a message that ended with: “If we run another presidential campaign, the political, financial, and media elite of this country will stop at nothing to defeat us. They are already running ads against us in a number of early primary and caucus states. Make a contribution to our campaign to help us fight back and defend our progressive agenda.”
The message was clear that he was seriously considering a run. His supporters were just waiting for confirmation. And now they have it.
Polls are looking good for Bernie Sanders so far, even polls taken before his announcement. Many polls have placed Bernie second in popularity, often just behind Joe Biden. A CNN poll published on December 14 placed Sanders second with 14 percent compared to Biden’s 30 percent. Then on December 18, Rolling Stone announced that Bernie Sanders topped the list of 2020 Democratic contenders, even surpassing Biden. In that poll, Sanders had 36 percent of first-place votes by Democracy for America activists, and Biden placed second at 15 percent. On December 16, an Iowa 2020 caucus poll gave Biden top billing, followed by Sanders and then Beto O’Rourke.
Now that Bernie is running, we’ll likely see a lot of themes from 2016 coming back around. For one, Birdie Sanders will likely make many new appearances. The meme became popular after a bird visited Bernie during his rally in Portland, Oregon in 2016. On March 25, 2016, a small bird visited Bernie’s rally, Bernie reacted with joy, and the entire crowd went wild. There were more than 11,000 people at the event. It all happened unexpectedly. Sanders was talking about education, the crowd started laughing and pointing at something on the ground near his podium. That got his attention, so he turned to see what everyone was talking about. When he saw the bird, he broke into a big laugh and everyone cheered.
When the bird flew away, Sanders said:
I think there’s maybe some symbolism here… I know it doesn’t look like it but that bird is really a dove asking us for world peace. No more wars.”
See the moment again below.
And you’ll probably see repeats of #BernieWouldHaveWon. His supporters still believe he could have won against President Donald Trump in a general election. They point to how much better he was polling before the general election than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. They point to the number of people who were attending his rallies as compared to Clinton. The states that flipped Republican in the general election might have stayed with Sanders, his supporters say, because he would have gotten part of the “anti-establishment” independent vote that went to Trump. (Bernie did get one electoral vote, from David Mulinix in Hawaii.)
But we’ll likely also be revisiting the downsides of the 2016 campaign also. There were questions of fraud or misdeeds during state conventions and primary voting. Whether or not you agree with WikiLeaks, the leaked DNC and Podesta emails did reveal that the DNC was siding with Hillary Clinton. Even Donna Brazile, who once claimed she hadn’t given any debate questions to Clinton, admitted it was true. Some Democrat voters argue that this is OK since Bernie is an Independent in Vermont and not a Democrat. But others argue that the DNC’s own bylaws talk about impartiality, so they should not have been secretly favoring one candidate over another. Many Bernie delegates felt betrayed at the Democratic National Convention. But Bernie Sanders himself put all that aside, even campaigning with Hillary Clinton before the general election.
Bernie Sanders has never left the spotlight since 2016. He was frequently seen in debates against Ted Cruz, for example. In a poll that Heavy ran after a debate in February 2017, 47.64 percent thought Bernie won the debate and 46.59 percent voted for Cruz. A total of 59,163 people participated in the 2017 online poll.
When Bernie hosted a Reddit AMA in November 2018, the top-voted question even then was whether he would run in 2020.
He didn’t answer the question then, but we have the answer now.