Bernie Sanders is taking another shot at the White House, telling Vermont Public Radio that he will run for president again in 2020.
“I wanted to let the people of the state of Vermont know about this first,” Sanders told VPR’s Bob Kinzel.
He made the announcement in an email to supporters later on Tuesday morning.
“I have decided to run for president of the United States,” Sanders wrote in a version of the email provided to HuffPost on Monday. “I am asking you today to join me as part of an unprecedented and historic grassroots campaign.”
The independent Vermont senator, who caucuses with the Democrats and battled Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, had long hinted he would make another run but said that he would step aside if a better candidate came forward to defeat President Donald Trump.
Tuesday morning, it was clear Sanders has decided he is the best person for the job.
“Together, you and I and our 2016 campaign began the political revolution. Now, it is time to complete that revolution and implement the vision that we fought for,” he wrote.
Asked what would be different from his 2016 run during an interview on “CBS This Morning” that aired Tuesday morning, Sanders said: “We’re going to win.”
“It is absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated because I think it is unacceptable and un-American — to be frank with you — that we have a president who is a pathological liar, and it gives me no pleasure to say that, but it’s true,” he said. “We have a president who is a racist, who is a sexist, who is a xenophobe.”
He promised that his second presidential bid would be a “continuation of what we did in 2016,” noting that many of his progressive policy proposals “are now part of the political mainstream.”
NEW: Vermont Senator @BernieSanders is running for president again. The 77-year-old former mayor & congressman is the 10th candidate to join the most diverse Democratic party field in U.S. history.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 19, 2019
Sanders has long been known as one of the most progressive members of the Senate. A self-described democratic socialist, his platform calls for “Medicare for all” and a $15 minimum wage. He’s also advocated for free tuition at public colleges and universities, lowering the costs of prescription drugs and placing heightened attention on climate change.
In his email, Sanders directly credited his supporters with shifting the Democratic Party toward a more progressive message since the 2016 election.
“Three years ago, during our 2016 campaign, when we brought forth our progressive agenda we were told that our ideas were ‘radical,’ and ‘extreme,’” he wrote. “We were told that Medicare for All, a $15 an hour minimum wage, free tuition at public colleges and universities, aggressively combating climate change, demanding that the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes, were all concepts that the American people would never accept.”
“Well, three years have come and gone,” he continued. “And, as a result of millions of Americans standing up and fighting back, all of these policies and more are now supported by a majority of Americans.”
Sanders won re-election to the Senate for a third term in November, taking more than 67 percent of the vote. That same month, he said he was considering a second White House run, but he told panelists on ABC’s “The View” that his primary objective was to defeat Trump, even if that meant the Democrats ran someone else
“There are other great candidates out there, many of them personal friends of mine,” Sanders said during the November interview. “But what I think is most important right now is that Trump be defeated … and that we as a nation come together respectfully.”
Tuesday, he took a slightly different tone. Though Sanders did call Trump a “racist” and “pathological liar” who was leading the country in an “an authoritarian direction,” he also made clear his campaign would stand for more than just stopping the president.
“Our campaign is not only about defeating Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history. It is not only about winning the Democratic nomination and the general election,” Sanders wrote. ”Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”
Sanders took shots at Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry and Amazon in his email, also saying the country needed to end voter suppression, the “epidemic of gun violence,” “the destructive ’war on drugs,’” the “demonization of undocumented immigrants” and “racism, sexism, homophobia, religious bigotry and all forms of discrimination.”
When he first announced he would run for president in 2015, Sanders was scoffed at as a fringe candidate. By the end, Sanders had proved to be a national political force, amassing an army of loyal followers and unprecedented amounts of small-donor fundraising money. When all was said and done, he had won more than 1,800 delegates.
In recent months, that same campaign has faced criticism, however, after two dozen women came forward with allegations that they were subjected to harassment or discrimination by members of Sanders’ team. The senator issued a public apology to those who experienced such harassment and thanked them for speaking out.
“What they experienced was absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign, or any campaign, should be about,” he said in a Jan. 10 statement.
There are also concerns about Sanders’ age. He would be 79 on Election Day in 2020, which would make him the oldest president elected in U.S. history.
Nevertheless, Sanders has continued to poll favorably among Americans over the last two-plus years.
The Harvard Harris poll, which releases its findings monthly, has repeatedly named him the most popular active politician in the country. Poll results from both January and December placed him among the three most favored political figures in the country, just behind former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is also eyeing a presidential run.
In his email, Sanders asked for people to sign their support. His campaign hopes to receive 1 million signatures through Tuesday’s request for support.
“They may have the money and power. We have the people. That is why we need one million Americans who will commit themselves to this campaign,” he wrote. “Stand with me as we fight to win the Democratic nomination and the general election.”
Read more at HuffPost.