Potential roadblock for Bernie Sanders rises in New Hampshire

30 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bernie Sanders launches his presidential campaign: ‘We’re in this race to win’.

Political pundits have been quick to write him off, as his past status as an independent candidate and his Socialist history likely will make it difficult for him to raise campaign funds to compete with the likes of Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is officially running for president, meaning that there will be at least two contestants in the Democratic race (after what’s been going on in the city where he was mayor for eight years, Martin O’Malley may be reconsidering). I am obligated by law to point out that Sanders’ chances of beating Hillary Clinton are slight, but the question many have already raised is what effect his candidacy will have on Clinton.

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) officially launched his bid for the Democratic nomination Thursday, calling in a press conference outside the Capitol for “an economy that works for all of our people, rather than a small number of billionaires.” “Ninety-nine percent of all new income generated in this country is going to the top 1 percent. But the Vermont senator suggested that while he is the first Democratic challenger to Clinton to enter the race, he doesn’t plan to run negative ads against her. “I’ve never run a negative ad in my life,” Sanders said. “I’ve been in many campaigns.

But Mr Sanders was confident when announcing his White House ambitions and he figures to bait Mrs Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate, farther to the left on some issues. “People should not underestimate me,” Sanders told the Associated Press. “I’ve run outside of the two-party system, defeating Democrats and Republicans, taking on big-money candidates and, you know, I think the message that has resonated in Vermont is a message that can resonate all over this country.” Many people who represent the left wing of the Democratic party feel that Mrs Clinton is too moderate and could support Mr Sanders as the candidate the represents their positions. How does it happen that the top 1% owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 99%?” said Sanders, who is the longest-serving independent in Congressional history. Asked what made him a better candidate than Clinton, he first sidestepped the question — “we don’t know what Hillary’s stances are on all the issues” — before highlighting issues where he’s taken a progressive leadership role, including opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, the Keystone XL pipeline, and the Iraq War. “I voted against the war in Iraq,” he said — drawing a contrast with Clinton, whose vote in favor of the war helped sink her 2008 presidential campaign. Sanders said yes, but added, “What is more fair game is the role of money in politics.” A self-described “Democratic socialist,” Sanders is largely considered a long-shot for the party’s nomination but is also being viewed as liberal alternative to Clinton, who some believe as too centrist. While Clinton has attempted to sound a populist note in her campaign of late, many — including her big money backers on Wall Street — aren’t buying it.

During his news conference, he drew attention to his “unusual political history.” “You’re looking at a guy, undisputedly, who has the most unusual political history of anybody in the United States Congress,” Sanders said. “It’s not only that I’m the longest serving independent in the history of the Congress. Advocacy for the interests of what we might call the non-wealthy has always been at the top of Sanders’ agenda and at the heart of his political identity. Sanders spoke Thursday about several key progressive issues that will frame his campaign, including income inequality and unemployment, campaign finance reform, education reform and climate change. “I believe that in a democracy what elections are about are serious debates over serious issues — not political gossip, not making campaigns into soap offices. That’s the reason he’s finally running now, at the tail end of a long career: the national debate has moved in his direction, with issues like wage stagnation and inequality now being brought up even by some conservatives.

This is not the Red Sox versus the Yankees,” he said. “I would hope — and I ask the media’s help on this — allow us to discuss the important issues facing the American people.” And the long-shot contender denied that he was in the race merely to draw attention to issues he cares about. “We’re in this race to win,” he insisted. Sanders on Saturday will head to New Hampshire, which host’s the nation’s first presidential primary, where he will attend a house party with supporters and address an AFL-CIO convention. She’s talking about issues like inequality and criminal justice reform in terms that she might not have used 10 or 20 years ago, and in some cases she’s actually taking positions that she wouldn’t have then.

As Greg and I have argued, whether this evolution is sincere isn’t particularly relevant, because she’s reflecting the consensus within her party, and if she becomes president her actions will follow along. They know that they’re at odds with the public on many economic issues, like the minimum wage, paid vacation time, or increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Though they’ve begun to talk about inequality, it’s obvious that they haven’t quite figured out how to address the issue without running up against their traditional advocacy for things like cutting upper-income taxes and reducing regulations on corporations and Wall Street. Republicans say they want that, too, but the fact that some specific billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers are so eagerly bankrolling their campaigns makes it an awkward argument for them to make.

The best outcome for Republicans is if the campaign revolves around other issues where they might find more support for their positions and they can more easily attack Hillary Clinton.

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