On Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced his second bid for president and said his 2020 campaign will focus on income inequality — an issue he has long fought for — racial justice and a progressive foreign policy.

The Vermont Independent — whose announcement comes one day after Presidents’ Day — will run as a Democratic candidate, just as he did in 2016. Sanders, who has described himself as a “Democratic socialist,” will now join a crowded group of liberal candidates, as opposed to contending as an underdog like he did in the previous presidential election when Hillary Clinton became the Democratic Party’s nominee. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is another 2020 contender who has expressed progressive views on many issues similarly to Sanders.

Sanders, 77, already boasts a huge list of donors and a strong digital media arsenal. Although his far-left views on many issues, like free public university education and Medicare-For-All, were scorned by many centrist liberals in 2016, more Democrats have now learned to embrace his positions.


Sanders is hoping to obtain 1 million signatures for a petition supporting his campaign. He said this would be key to his second attempt at taking on Wall Street and billionaires, insurance companies and pharmaceutical giants. Sanders is also reportedly set to push for sweeping campaign finance reform as part of his 2020 platform.

“Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice,” Sanders wrote in his announcement email. “Our campaign is about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life. I’m talking about Wall Street, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military-industrial complex, the private-prison industry and the large multi-national corporations that exert such an enormous influence over our lives.”

Since President Donald Trump took office two years ago, Sanders has sharply criticized him on numerous issues, including his denigration of women, minorities and immigrants and his inclusion of billionaires in his administration despite promising in 2016 to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday, Sanders called Trump a “racist,” adding the president is “a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction.”

Sanders is also hoping to win over more minority voters, especially African-Americans. In the 2016 primaries, he narrowly won black voters under age 30, while older black Americans largely voted for Clinton. Earlier this year, Sanders visited South Carolina — an early primary state — on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and spoke out against racism and racial inequality.

“Racism … exists in this country today, and it exists when the median white family owns ten times more wealth than the median African-American family,” Sanders said in his speech. “Racial equality must be central to combatting economic inequality, if we are to going to create a government that works for all of us, and not just the 1 percent.”

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