Former Sen. Jim Webb (National Press Club)

Jim Webb jumps in: Confederate flag supporter announces bid for the Democratic nomination

The Marine veteran and ex-senator takes the 2016 plunge


Sophia Tesfaye
July 2, 2015 10:46PM (UTC)

Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb announced his entrance into the 2016 presidential race today, bringing the total number of major party candidates vying for the White House to 19 -- five of them, including Webb, Democrats.

In an over 2,000 word long post on his official campaign website, Webb2016.com, Webb, 69, promised "a fresh approach to solving the problems" he claimed "too often unnecessarily divide us." Borrowing the language of Progressive populist Elizabeth Warren, Webb called it the role of elected officials to "ensure a level playing field."

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Webb described the American Dream as "unending opportunity at the top if you put things together and you make it, absolute fairness along the way, and a safety net underneath you if you fall on hard times or suffer disability or as you reach your retirement years."

But returned to his moderate roots later in the announcement, writing, "We need a President who understands leadership, who has a proven record of actual accomplishments, who can bring about bipartisan solutions, who can bring people from both sides to the table to get things done."

The former one-term senator outlined his record and position on a handful of issues, including criminal justice system, immigration reform and student loan debt. And seemingly as a dig at Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, Webb reiterated his opposition to the Iraq War authorization, writing, "as President I would not have urged an invasion of Iraq, nor as a Senator would I have voted to authorize it."

Webb's campaign announcement promised "a fresh approach to solving the problems" he claimed "too often unnecessarily divide us." Borrowing the language of Progressive populist Elizabeth Warren, Webb called it the role of elected officials to "ensure a level playing field, and described the American Dream as "unending opportunity at the top if you put things together and you make it, absolute fairness along the way, and a safety net underneath you if you fall on hard times or suffer disability or as you reach your retirement years."

"That’s the American Trifecta," he went on, "opportunity, fairness, and security."

Webb also noted his Vietnam-era military service, during which he earned two Bronze Star Medals and two Purple Hearts, and his role shepherding a GI bill for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans through Congress.

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His campaign slogan reads, "Leadership you can trust."

While his populist economic agenda meshes with the progressive base's increased focus on inequality, Webb has also staked out positions that put him squarely at odds with the Democrats' diverse base -- including opposition to affirmative action and support for the Confederate flag.

Webb currently trails badly in the polls, averaging just over two percent in national surveys of Democratic voters, according to Real Clear Politics. That puts him more than 60 percentage points behind Clinton.


Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2016 Elections Confederate Flag Democratic Party Hillary Clinton Jim Webb




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