Bern Out?

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Mahle Gangi, Staff Writer

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders recently announced that he will be running for president as a Democratic candidate in the 2020 election. This will be his second attempt at earning the party’s nomination. During his 2016 run, Bernie Sanders gained notoriety as an underdog, attempting to dethrone the Clinton Machine as the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party. Ultimately he failed, but he maintained a following and enters this new race in a very different position, on top.

Despite having the advantage of being a recognizable name in the media, Sanders may have a tough time attracting women and minority votes due to his previous presidential campaign. He battled with appealing to Latino and African American communities early on in his 2016 campaign because of a lack of engagement with them. Additionally, female staffers who were a part of his 2016 campaign made accusations of harassment by other staff members and claimed to fall victim to pay disparities. Though no accusations came against Sanders himself, he has apologized and stated that he was unaware of these issues at the time they were occuring. Sanders has vowed to run a more diverse campaign this go-round.

Besides rectifying mistakes from his last campaign, Sanders’ current campaign is focused on healthcare and education accessibility. These are always hot topics for the Democratic Party, but not as hot as the gender and minority issues that have catapulted to the forefront in recent months. Sanders has some catching up to do. His promises are appealing to Democrats, but he is most likely to grab the attention of white and/or male voters. When asked about his stance on reparations for slavery in a CNN Town Hall interview recently, his answer was deflective in nature. He referenced a lack of clarity in the stance of his opposition instead of asserting his own position. This was in staunch contrast to his answers when asked about healthcare and education. He had an extensive plan laid out to tackle those issues, which included tax reform to provided free healthcare and college education for every American, essentially a repeat of 2016.

Bernie Sanders has flaws within his own campaign, but if he does not make it through the primary victorious, those may not be the only reason. Historically, candidates that enter the race for president this early, including the frontrunner, rarely make it through as the nominee in the general election. The risk one poses by entering the race this early is high as they have a greater potential of their popularity fizzling out. Candidates who enter the race approximately one year before the election day often have the greatest success in rallying voters, so is Bernie Sanders making a mistake? The people who donated ten million dollars to his effort last week would likely say no, but only time will tell if Democrats will be ‘Feeling the Bern” in 2020, or if “Bern Out” is in our immediate future.