After a hard-fought surprise run in 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) looks positioned to solidify his fundamentals and build widespread support for progressive policy goals. Despite serious divisions and persistent voter mistrust, the popular senator seeks to heal the damage caused by internal corruption and unify the Democratic Party.
The senator has been spending a significant amount of time visiting states to rally public opposition against Republican legislative goals. Given the nature of his recent moments, the famous populist looks like he may be positioning himself for a 2020 presidential run.
The senator from Vermont is seen as an outsider. During his 2016 campaign, Sanders rejected large donations from corporations and the financial industry. The campaign’s average $27 donation reinforced his populist image. In addition, the senator’s progressive push on key issues such as corporate welfare, income inequality, LGBT rights and universal healthcare has furthered his reputation.
Irrespective his competitive loss in the primary, Sanders continues to work as a leading progressive voice within the Democratic caucus.
Earlier this month, reports of corruption within the Democratic National Committee surfaced from statements by DNC official, Donna Brazile. She admits the DNC agreed to give control over committee operations to the Hillary Clinton campaign.
For this reason, Clinton’s campaign agreed to pay off massive debt remaining from President Obama’s 2012 campaign. This occurred long before Clinton secured her party’s nomination.
Previously, Senator Sanders’ focus on progressive domestic policy left him vulnerable on foreign policy issues. In 2016, Clinton capitalized on that weakness. As of late, he has been seeking to build upon his previous limitation.
Illustratively, the Vermont senator now works with President Bill Clinton’s former defense secretary, Bill Perry. On Sanders’ podcast this summer, the pair discussed possible resolutions for North Korean nuclear ambitions. Furthermore, he now works with former rivals such as American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
While some of his supporters remain incensed, Sanders continues to push progressive policy from within the Democratic Party. In an attempt to capitalize on the senator’s momentum and public enthusiasm, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) gave him the position of “Outreach Chairman” earlier this month.
While traveling across a number of key states, the high profile senator has given notable speeches and held opposition rallies.
At these events, Sanders promoted an aggressive progressive foreign policy. During his speech at Westminster College, Miss. — the sight of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech — Sanders highlighted international affairs. His speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace also illustrated his current direction.
Sanders also displayed his ability to excite as illustrated by his MoveOn.org conference call that generated over 11,000 callers. Multiple polls continue to list him as the most popular politician in the country.
Recent visits to Maine, West Virginia, Kentucky, Kansas, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio show Sanders’ ability to continue a campaign-like schedule in his defense of Obamacare. This weekend, the senator plans on visiting three more states during his “Protecting Working Families Tour,” in an effort to resist Republican tax reform.
Some analysts believe Sanders movements show the type of actions expected from a future presidential candidate. As the senator shores up his previous weaknesses, his opposition to current Republican legislation drives voter enthusiasm.
As an expanded awareness of issues outside domestic policy strengthens Sanders’ foundation and repairing damaged relations strengthens Democratic Party unity, experts question the senator’s future plans. Considering recent movements, a 2020 presidential run looks increasingly likely.