Yesterday, during an “Ask Me Anything” discussion on Reddit, Senator Sanders again mentioned that he is considering running for president in 2016.
It could be that this is just a threat to extract something from the establishment wing of the Democratic Party. Senator Sanders would raise a lot of issues in the primary campaign that would be problematic for the establishment-favored candidate (right now the assumption is that is Hillary Clinton). This would cause the favored candidate to “run to the left” in the primaries and have to carry most of those positions with them into the general election — or risk being labeled an untrustworthy flip-flopper by changing their tune.
He would be 75 on election day 2016, so people could make his age an issue. More likely the Tea Party types would go completely bonkers because Sanders actually calls himself a socialist. This might actually help Sanders, if some conservative types (thinking there’s no way he could win) decide it would be a great idea to cross over and vote for Sanders in the Democratic Party so that they get a more beatable candidate. This would really backfire, because I think the more airtime Sanders gets, the less scary his version of socialism seems. Of course if you’re so close-minded to think that any form of socialism is the same as oppressive Soviet communism, you’d probably just think anything Senator Sanders says that you happen to like or agree with must be a lie.
Sanders, or someone like him, should run for president. He would raise a lot of important issues that the establishment wing of the party would like the country to ignore. Sanders would be a better choice than Elizabeth Warren right now because he is a lot closer to the end of his career, and thus has little left to lose. She can follow up in 2024 if she’s not Senate Majority Leader by then.
Senator Sanders probably won’t win in 2016, but the country would be well served by how he would change the campaign and activate the Democratic populist base.