He’s back for round two. Bernie Sanders has announced his bid for the 2020 presidential election and it comes at a time when the Democratic Party is undergoing serious change.
I was one of the many college students who quickly discovered and supported Sanders when he made his 2016 bid. I’m excited to see him make another bid. But there is a lingering, obvious question that cannot be ignored: can Sanders feasibly win the Democratic candidacy?
The honest answer is probably not—and for several different reasons.
Sanders went into the 2016 primaries with light baggage compared to most other candidates. His most controversial attributes were his politics. Even with such a clean record, it was still difficult to his philosophy to the American public. Now he has even more controversies to overcome.
One controversy that came to light about the Sanders campaign were reports of rampant sexism. According the New York Times, several members of the campaign reported incidents to superiors that were not acted on. Others had complaints but were unsure who to report to in the largely decentralized campaign.
The sexism that occurred internally looks even worse when placed in the context of the “Bernie bros” that took to the online landscape leading up to the 2016 primaries. These individuals were characterized by their tendency to harass Hillary supporters—usually women—with sexist comments.
Sanders made a public apology about the unchecked sexism within the campaign. During his last campaign he denounced the Bernie Bros spreading hateful, sexist messages. The acknowledgement may come from the right place, but the scars still remain.
Additionally, his greatest support came from younger Americans. It also just so happens that many young, eligible citizens did not turn up at the polls. But trends have been changing. The 2018 midterm elections pulled the highest voter turnout in the history of the United States. It is entirely possible that this upcoming election has the highest turnout of any United States election ever.
Regardless of Sanders’s slim chances, I am thrilled to see him back on the debate stage and in the national spotlight. His prior efforts on the national stage spurred a conversation that one could argue has molded the future of the Democratic Party.
One could argue that freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s swift rise to power was made possible through efforts by politicians like Sanders. Self-identified socialists, such as Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, are becoming more popular in American politics.
The face of the Democratic Party is changing. Progressive ideologies such as those made by Sanders are ushering the nation’s left into a new era. I look forward to seeing positive change aimed at helping the country’s poor and disenfranchised.