Bernie Sanders: 'No,' I Don't Know if I'm Running for President
On Tuesday morning, the Democratic runner-up for the 2016 presidential nomination admitted he had no idea whether he would run for president in 2020. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) remains undecided.
CNN's John Berman said he would not ask Sanders if he was running for president, but instead asked if the senator knew whether or not he would do so.
"As of this moment, no," Sanders responded. "Running for president is not a simple decision. You don't say, 'Hey, I'm going to run for president!'"
"You’ve got to communicate with people all over the country," the senator explained. "I’ve got to know that the issues that I feel strong about — income and wealth inequality, a corrupt campaign finance system, the fact that our middle-class continues to shrink, the greed of Wall Street and of the pharmaceutical industry who rip us off every day with the highest prices in the world for drugs -- are those resonating with the American people?"
Sanders admitted, "I’m not quite sure. I think they do, but we’ve got a little bit more work to do."
When asked again whether the senator knew about this 2020 plans, he responded, "At this point, no."
"We just came from an election where people turned on the TV and all they saw is TV ads and all that stuff. The media pushes this a little bit more," Sanders said.
"The American people don’t want never-ending campaigns, they really don’t. So I think we can give the American people a time to catch their breath and focus not on individuals, focus on the issues," Sanders added. Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Do the American people have an appetite for socialism? I would hope not, but young people seem tragically interested in what is arguably the exact opposite of the American dream. Conservatives rightly emphasize issues like American exceptionalism, limited government, free markets, and the engine of peace and prosperity that has so blessed the world in the past 100 years.
Sanders is right that Americans should focus on issues, but candidates stand for issues. He is right that Americans want a break from constant campaigning, but the "Resistance" he so closely identifies with seems rather unwilling to take a break, or let Trump fulfill more of the promises that got him elected in 2016.
Sanders did not delay because he wants to focus on issues more than people — he delayed because he has no idea how many other Democrats will jump into the race for president. Most likely, his ideological allies like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will jump in, and his presence in the primary would divide "democratic" socialists between those two — and likely many more — candidates.
Sanders's hesitation is less about what the American people want and more about whether — or rather how many of — his fellow regressive socialists will be competing for the same job. He did so well in 2016 that he doesn't want to risk an embarrassing defeat in 2020...
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.