Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is an Independent, announced Tuesday morning that he is running for President of the United States as a Democrat for the second time. He lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Sanders said he is running to oppose President Donald Trump, and to enact many of the progressive ideas — including universal health care coverage, a $15 minimum wage and reducing student debt — that he championed in 2016.
"I think the current occupant of the White House is an embarrassment to our country," Sanders said. "I think he is a pathological liar... I also think he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, somebody who is gaining cheap political points by trying to pick on minorities, often undocumented immigrants."
He is in his third term as a U.S. Senator. This time around, the race has a very different look and feel, with many more women running and many more candidates as a whole throwing their hats into the ring for the Democratic nomination. Sanders acknowledged that, along with the long-standing allegations of racism and sexism, and more recent high-profile reports of sexual harassment that have been plaguing his operations.
"We are gonna be providing a whole lot of education ... and training to all of our employees, and we have on board as part of this campaign a very, very experienced and professional team of folks who do exactly this — they deal with sexual harassment and discrimination," Sanders told VPR.
He may also have to actually change parties in order to be a true Democrat in order to run on the Democratic ticket. In 2018, the Democratic Party adopted the following rules about who may run as a Dem:
"At the time a presidential candidate announces their candidacy publicly, they must publicly affirm that they are a Democrat. Each candidate pursuing the Democratic nomination shall affirm, in writing, to the National Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee that they:
A. are a member of the Democratic Party;
B. will accept the Democratic nomination; and
C. will run and serve as a member of the Democratic Party.
This requirement of written affirmation shall not supplant any necessary qualifications a candidate must satisfy at the state level, but is in addition to such affirmations required by
individual states and territories."
That letter A. may be a problem for him, or not. One way or the other, he will have to negotiate the new rules along with the rest of the crowded Democratic field.