There is no harm in trying! as the saying goes. “Yes, we can,” Barack Obama would say instead.
This time the American politician who represented Vermont in the U.S. Senate from 2007, Bernie Sanders, just tries it again: since conceding defeat in the 2016 primaries against Hillary Clinton, last February the eighty-eight years old Sanders announced his candidacy for the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election.
But, before thinking to challenge the current president Donald Trump, we have to deal with the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, scheduled to take place from February to June 2020, within all fifty U.S. states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories, and Democrats Abroad. Twenty-seven candidates – 20 major candidates remain in the race – the largest field of presidential candidates for any political party in the post-reform era of American history, exceeding that of 17 major candidates that sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
According to a recent report published by the New York Times, among the Democratic candidates, Mr. Sanders has a huge lead over his challengers in the number of individual donors they have each accumulated so far: $ 36 million raised by August 2019, detaching by four million the young mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg, and by fourteen the former vice president under the Obama administration from 2009 to 2017 Joe Biden.
“We have two choices: We need more donations or we need people to give just a bit more than they have before,” reads one of the numerous emails addressed to Bernie supporters.
But who is the senator defeated in 2016 by the former First Lady Hillary Clinton? For everyone just Bernie, he is the longest serving independent in U.S. congressional history and a member of the Democratic caucus, a self-described democratic socialist and progressive.
As an activist of the civil rights movement during college, his political career has seen him served as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and co-founder of the largest democratic caucus of the United States, the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Sanders voted against the resolutions authorizing the use of force against Iraq in 1991 and 2002, and opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq; he supports homosexual rights, ethnic minorities, and he wants to abolish the death penalty.
Bernie’s political program stressed health care, college and jobs for all, points that scare many Americans who believe in the idea of socialism related to Vladimir Lenin and anchored in the Cold War – in those years Americans associated the word socialism with poverty, corruption, and dictatorship.
“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence – not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.” This is what Donald Trump stated during the last speech on the State of the Union, talking about the possible rise of socialism as an issue for the country.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted after the announcement of the candidates in the Democratic primaries, showed that just four in 10 voters say they would re-elect Trump next year; 58 percent don’t think he’s been honest and truthful regarding the Russia probe; and 60 percent disapprove of his recent national emergency declaration to build a border wall.
And regarding socialism, only 18 percent of Americans expressed a positive view to the term, versus 50 percent who see it in a negative light.
While Donald Trump slammed the socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro for leading the country into ruin, Sanders is getting ready for the third debate on September 12, 2019, in Houston, Texas.
The ten democratic candidates qualified by reaching a grassroots fundraising threshold of 130,000 unique contributors and a polling threshold of 2 percent support or more in four eligible state polls released between June 28, 2019, and August 28, 2019.
It’s possible that Bernie will put in practice not only his socialist ideas, but also and especially the threat of climate change and his recent Green New Deal. It is the most expensive proposal to address the climate crisis from any 2020 Democrat with 16.3 trillion dollars. The ambitious plan to combat climate change includes $1.52 trillion on renewable energy and $852 billion to build energy storage capacity. But also, $14.7 billion investments in cooperatively owned grocery stores and $160 billion to help solve hunger, with a development program to resume food recovery and composting.
Socialism or not, while waiting for the third debate, according to the latest polls, the road to convince Americans to choose Sanders as the forty-sixth president of the United States, is still uphill – Bernie seems to be behind the Senator of Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, ahead of a party still looking for leadership.