In an interview shortly after election day Bernie Sanders was asked about potential plants for a 2020 presidential campaign. Sanders shot back true to form and questioned why the reporter was concerned with horse race politics years away from a potential election. Sanders made it clear he was there to talk about policy and where to go in the age of Donald Trump, not his own political aspirations. What he didn’t say though was no and many moves he has taken since has many people questioning whether or not Sanders is being tight lipped about plans that are far more flushed out than he lets on.
It’s not at all uncommon for politicians to keep the door open on potential political aspirations that never materialize. Still there is a lot more going for Bernie Sanders and any potential presidential campaign than just a candidate not ruling it out. A closer look at moves Sanders has made since election day should leave everyone with the impression that Sanders hasn’t given up on the oval office just yet.
Many of these potential presidential preparations were pointed out by Matt Yglesias, in his article titled “Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Front Runner in 2020.” A piece like that coming from a writer like Matt is telling enough. Specifically though he pointed to a supposed “more moderate” version of the Bernie Sanders message. Which clings to signature issues such as Medicare for All and universal higher education, but takes a more tempered tone elsewhere. A trend Yglesias also linked to inroads Bernie Sanders has made within the Democratic Party itself. Although Bernie Sanders still does not identify a Democrat he has taken a formal role in the party and is working closely with party leaders to help craft a message and policy to back it.
Bernie Sanders has not only moderated his message in subtle ways but he also appears to fill some other shortcomings that plagued his candidacy. For example he has recently hired two foreign policy analysts to shore up policy issues which Sanders struggled with during the campaign and has never really focused on much throughout his career. Sanders is a senior legislature who certainly doesn’t need to justify hiring advisors, but for someone who has always had laser focus on domestic economic issues, it seems strange to shift focus so late in his career.
There are also other more subtle signals that might suggest Sanders is considering another run for the White House. He has consistently appeared on the Sunday political shows and those appearances are still dead set on messaging and less concerned with the issues of the day. To accompany that messaging is his own political operation, Our Revolution. Finally he has continued holding rallies across the country, which serves as a way to push his agenda, sell his book, and push people into his political organization. Still stops on that tour seem pretty tailored for a presidential run. Specifically states like Iowa and New Hampshire which will prove to be incredibly important in the Democratic primary in 2020.
Bernie Sanders is old and it’s not clear he has further political aspirations for the future outside of pushing a progressive agenda. Still his campaign took the country by surprise and it’s not that outlandish to think he might be looking to do it again in 2020.