While the Republic Party is steaming toward a sequel to its 2012 presidential-primary-as-reality-TV-show, Hillary Clinton has had the spotlight all to herself on the Democratic side of the race – until now. Bernie Sanders has officially thrown his hat into the 2016 presidential race.
While many progressives have been desperately trying to convince Elizabeth Warren to fun for president – despite her repeated and crystal-clear statements that she was not interested, Bernie Sanders has been travelling around the county building support and testing whether progressives were willing to help build a movement focused on an economic populist message.
In a statement released to supporters, Sanders explained his decision to enter the race this way:
The challenges facing our country are enormous.
It’s not just that, for forty years, the middle class has been disappearing. It’s that 99% of all new income is going to the top 1%, and the grotesque level of wealth and income inequality today is worse than at any time since the late 1920s. The people at the top are grabbing all the new wealth and income for themselves, and the rest of America is being squeezed and left behind.
The disastrous decisions of the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case and in other related decisions are undermining the very foundations of American democracy, as billionaires rig the system by using their Super PACs to buy politicians and elections.
And the peril of global climate change, with catastrophic consequences, is the central challenge of our times and our planet.
The middle class in America is at a tipping point. It will not last another generation if we don’t boldly change course now.
If there is one thing you can say about Bernie Sanders, it’s that his message was not fashioned by a PR firm – it is the same message that he has been championing since he began his political career as the Mayor of Burlington, VT in 1981. Once in Congress he co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus and then went on to become a stalwart champion of progressive economic, social, and political policies. Before Elizabeth Warren’s election to the Senate on an anti-Wall Street populist economic platform and before Occupy Wall Street brought the terms “inequality” and the “99%” into the public dialogue, Bernie Sanders was one of, if not the strongest progressive voices in the U.S. Congress.
Bernie Sanders was one of the keynote speakers at the PA Progressive Summit in Harrisburg in early February and Raging Chicken Press was there. Sanders gave a rousing, impassioned call for a revitalization of a progressive movement squarely focused on an economy that works for all Americans and a government that is responsive to the people. You can listen to his entire address below; it’s a perfect introduction to Sanders and his platform:
Bernie Sanders will make a more formal, public announcement of his presidential campaign today. The big, official kick-off will be on May 26th in Burlington, Vermont.