By Duane Paul Murphy
The independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told Vermont Public Radio (VPR) that he will be officially running for president in 2020 as a registered Democrat against incumbent Republican President Donald J. Trump. Sanders announced his campaign on Tuesday, February 19th. If elected, Sanders will become the oldest president ever elected at almost 80 years old by 2021. Sanders could surpass that record previously held by Ronald Reagan in 1981 and Donald Trump in 2017. Sanders could also become the country’s first Jewish president and openly democratic socialist president in history.
In the 24 hours after the announcement, Sanders’ campaign has raised more than $6 million from more than 225,000 donors nationwide, compared to California Senator Kamala Harris’ $1.5 million donation, 24 hours after her presidential campaign announcement a month ago. The average donation to the Sanders campaign was around $27, similar to that of previous donation averages in 2016 during his first presidential run against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Sanders is running a progressive platform that includes tuition-free and debt-free public higher education, a higher federal minimum wage set at $15 per hour, a universal single-payer healthcare system, and a Green New Deal to combat man-made climate change.
Catholic University of America alumni have expressed positive sentiments about Sanders’ second run in the upcoming 2020 elections.
“Back in 2015, I had no clue that Bernie’s movement would be still going in 2019,” said Jim Lewis, class of 2017 alumni from Norristown, Pennsylvania. “I am excited for Bernie to enter the race and put forward a class-conscience social democratic agenda for America.”
Lewis, who was the former communication coordinator for CUA Students for Bernie Sanders between 2015 and 2016, said that he is glad to see Sanders running again because of overall public dissatisfaction with both the Democrats and the Republicans.
“For too long, Americans of both parties argued for neoliberal economic policies, world police American interventionism, and grinding austerity,” Lewis said. “Bernie is the first candidate to buck this trend, and maybe along with Warren, will present a dramatically different future than presented by the current president.”
Sanders, who will have to win the Democratic Party’s presidential primary in a crowded field of candidates, has already received early primary endorsements from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, Vermont Congressman Peter Welch, California Congressman Ro Khanna, actor Danny DeVito, and Vermont Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman.
Catholic University undergraduates, especially those from Vermont, on campus have expressed positive attitudes towards the campaign.
“I feel very optimistic,” said freshman politics major Tyler Farrar from Milton, Vermont. “Bernie is a great representation of Vermont and its values. He’s an icon back home and I hope he does well. I think he has a much better chance in the current field of candidates than he did in 2016.”
Official debates and candidates forums sponsored by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) are set to begin in June 2019. The 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries will officially start on February 3 in 2020 in the Iowa Caucuses and will officially end between July 13 and 16 in 2020 at the Democratic National Convention, which may take place in either Miami, Milwaukee, Denver, or Houston.