According to multiple reports, Bernie Sanders has recorded his 2020 announcement, all but confirming broad speculation that he is going to make another attempt at the presidency.
“Bernie Sanders, inching closer to a second bid for the White House, has recorded a campaign video in which he says he is running for president in 2020, according to two people familiar with the spot,” reports Politico.
“Sanders’ anticipated announcement is part of a so-called soft launch of a campaign,” an unnamed source reportedly familiar with the plans told The Hill.
A soft launch could mean that Sanders will form an exploratory committee first and then formally announce his 2020 run weeks or even months from now. It would rally his core base of supporters, consolidate his donor base, and build momentum ahead of an official announcement.
Many of the reports also say that Sanders’ team is working on filling top staff positions, and has been in talks with Means of Production, the company that made the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaign video that went viral and skyrocketed her to the national media narrative.
I laid out my prediction last week why Sanders’ announcement was all, but certain at this point. Polls show he has strong support in the early states, he has the donor base, he has the media capital, and he can still draw in independent voters — a critical voting bloc in the primaries AND the general election.
Sanders will still enter a crowded field where political ideas are similar, yet the field itself has shifted its ideology leanings largely because of the impact that Bernie has had on the Democratic Party post-2016. Thus, the impact he has already had on this election cannot be ignored.
What’s more, Our Revolution, the organization founded by Bernie Sanders, announced phase 2 of “Run, Bernie, Run” this weekend — asking for donations for phone-banking, volunteer and group leader training, and event hosting tools.
“We’re organizing every day so that if and when Bernie announces, our members and our groups can hit the ground running,” the Sanders-founded group says via email. pic.twitter.com/8Bm7llaBlP
— Holly Otterbein (@hollyotterbein) February 16, 2019
The questions that both Bernie supporters and people following 2020 developments have to ask: Will the media and the party treat Bernie differently in 2020? Will they treat him as a thorn in the side of the “defeat Trump at all costs” effort or will they embrace his populist appeal this time around?
It is important to note that the DNC approved new rules for the 2020 presidential primary in August. Some of these rules would actually make it harder for candidates like Bernie Sanders and others who do not fall lock-step with the party to run. This includes a party purity test, in which the DNC could bar a candidate from seeking the party’s nomination if they determine the candidate has not been faithful to the party.
It’s not clear at the moment if this will derail the Sanders campaign. He remained loyal to the party’s presidential nominee despite everything that happened in 2016, and has been a prominent voice in anti-Trump efforts since. But that wasn’t the only rule change that could hurt Sanders:
- Though there were widespread calls for the DNC to support open primary elections that would draw in independent voters — many of whom like Sanders — the party refused;
- The DNC kept the type of joint fundraising agreements that allowed candidates like Hillary Clinton to control the party during the 2016 presidential election; and
- Instead of eliminating superdelegates, the party chose to reserve them for the second round of balloting at the convention. Party leaders and rule-makers reserve the right to force a second ballot.
It’s possible Sanders won’t get burned the same way he did in the last presidential election. What’s important to remember though is that the party sets the rules. The party’s rules are not in place to serve the interests of voters in the Democratic Party. The rules are in place to serve the interests of party leaders and those with the largest political and financial investments in the party.
Think about it. What has really changed from the 2016 elections? The answer is, very little at all.
Photo Credit: Diego G Diaz / shutterstock.com