DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Senator Bernie Sanders is giving it another run. He announced this morning in an interview with Vermont Public Radio that he is launching a campaign for president in 2020.
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BERNIE SANDERS: We began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign, and now it's time to move that revolution forward and make sure that those - that vision, those ideas are implemented into policy.
GREENE: The Vermont senator led a massive progressive movement as he challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016, and he will need to reconstitute that again to win in 2020. NPR's Scott Detrow is covering the 2020 campaign. He's with us.
Hi there, Scott.
SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Good morning.
GREENE: All right. So there was some uncertainty for some time about whether Sanders would actually do this. He's now making it official. So why is he running this time?
DETROW: Well, he's making an argument that if you look at how we ran in 2016, he was criticized by a lot of Democrats for being too extreme, not realistic in the policies he was talking about. Three years later, a big chunk of the Democratic Party has signed on to a lot of his proposals, things like "Medicare for All," a $15 minimum wage. You know, nearly everyone else running for president is campaigning on those policies.
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SANDERS: We intend to run a campaign which stands up for working people, whether they're black or white, Latino, Native American, Asian American. We are going to run a campaign which tells the people on top that their greed has got to end, they cannot get it all. We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world. We cannot continue to have three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of the American people, cannot continue to have kids unable to afford to go to college, 30 million people without health insurance, family farmers going out of business. We can do a lot better.
DETROW: You know, the field running is very diverse. It's much younger, and Bernie Sanders is older. He's 77 years old. And of the six U.S. senators to announce they're running for president, he's the first white male to jump into the race. But Sanders is a top contender this time. Along with former Vice President Joe Biden, he's leading or No. 2 in nearly every poll so far.
GREENE: You have to believe he's been at least laying the groundwork for giving him the option to do this since 2016. So what has he been doing to make sure that that movement kept its momentum?
DETROW: You know, a lot. He never actually joined the Democratic Party and still won't. But he did become a member of the Democratic leadership of the Senate. He took a high-profile role in a lot of public fights, including trying to stop the Republican Obamacare repeal. He was doing a lot of campaigning the last few years. And one early sign to me that he was not only serious about running again but trying to win was that, you know, he was really knocked by Hillary Clinton in her campaign for not taking foreign policy seriously in 2016, not really ever talking about it.
Over the last couple of years he's made a very concerted push to have more to say on foreign policy, give a lot of speeches on that front. And if you recall a couple months ago when the U.S. Senate voted to try and force the U.S. out of involvement in the war in Yemen, it was actually Bernie Sanders who led that push, who authored that bill.
GREENE: Scott, I mean, it's a good thing for Sanders that so many other candidates have come sort of to his message. But couldn't that also be a bad thing for Sanders if the field is much more crowded now than the field he had in 2016?
DETROW: Absolutely. And go back to that point that nearly every other Democrat running for president is campaigning on "Medicare for all." Now you know, if you're a progressive voter, you have options. You can't just - it's not just Sanders out there offering that. You have a lot of different choices running on a lot of the exact same things that he's run on for years. So he's going to have to carve out a space in a much more crowded and progressive field than he had before. And that's going to be a lot bigger challenge than last time.
GREENE: NPR's Scott Detrow talking us about the news that Bernie Sanders is running for president again in 2020.
DETROW: Sure thing.
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