Sen. Bernie Sanders (AP/Andrew Harnik)

Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential bid announcement imminent: report

Insiders say the most popular senator in the United States is gearing up to announce another go at the White House


Keith A. SpencerNicole Karlis
January 26, 2019 2:21AM (UTC)

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is planning to announce his bid for president in the 2020 election, according to insiders who spoke to Yahoo! News reporters.

According to the two sources “with direct knowledge of his plans,” Sanders plans to announce his bid shortly. One of the sources said Sanders was emboldened by polls showing he was one of the top candidates in the Democratic primary field; specifically, Sanders was “heartened,” according to Yahoo! News, by polls indicating he was “one of the leading candidates among African American and Latino voters.” A source also alluded to polls that suggested Sanders is the most popular politician in the country.

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“What the senator has this time that he didn’t have last time is he is the most popular elected official in the country right now,” the source told Yahoo! News. “That’s light years away from 2016, when very few people knew who he was.”

The bid will kick off with an exploratory committee, a third source told Yahoo! News. The Sanders campaign did not respond to a request for comment; however, Josh Orton, who is a senior adviser to Sanders, was coy when pressed on Twitter. “No decision is imminent,” Orton wrote. "Enjoy your weekend,” he added.

A former staffer who was reportedly not informed about the bid also told the news outlet that Sanders has been making moves that make a run all but certain.

“He’s already talking to staff and there are people he’s hiring. They’re nailing down contracts with vendors. … All the movement is there for him to run,” the ex-staffer said.

In 2017, a year after the presidential election, Bernie Sanders remained the most popular politician in the United States, according to a Fox News (!) poll. Though that distinction may not necessarily be true depending on which poll you believe, he remains the most popular senator in at least one poll conducted in fall 2018.

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In the wake of the 2016 election, numerous polls revealed that, had Sanders been the Democratic nominee for president in 2016, he would have handily defeated Trump. This fits with a political strategy observed by renowned political scientist Thomas Piketty, summed up in the maxim “when we move left, we win;” more specifically, as Piketty noted, the mainstream Republican and Democratic parties have both become parties of the elite disconnected from the concerns of most Americans. Moreover, Piketty's research found that “shifting the Democratic Party platform more to the left is actually a winning electoral strategy that can help bring back disenfranchised working-class voters and less educated voters who currently may not vote at all or identify with right-wing populism,” as Salon’s Keith Spencer wrote in March 2018.

Though in the 2016 primary Sanders struggled in some states to win over non-white voters, his approval ratings among African American and Latino voters have greatly improved, as Yahoo News noted. In October 2018, a Gallup report found that Sanders’ favorable ratings were actually far higher among nonwhites than whites: 64 percent of nonwhites had a favorable opinion of Sanders, whereas 49 percent of white Americans did — which runs counter to the image of him as being unpopular among nonwhites, a canard frequently pushed by the neoliberal Democratic commentariat.


Keith A. Spencer

Keith A. Spencer is the cover editor for Salon, and manages Salon's science, tech and health coverage. His book, "A People's History of Silicon Valley: How the Tech Industry Exploits Workers, Erodes Privacy and Undermines Democracy," was released in 2018 from Eyewear Publishing. Follow him on Twitter at @keithspencer, or on Facebook here.

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Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a news writer at Salon. She covers health, science, tech and gender politics. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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