After turning a longshot gamble for the presidency into a national movement during the 2016 election season, Bernie Sanders launched another presidential bid on Tuesday in what’s already a crowded 2020 democratic primary.
A self-described Democratic socialist, the Vermont independent made a name for himself during the previous presidential primary with his progressive economic policies, returning to the Senate a left-wing supernova.
Sanders, 77, officially launched his second presidential campaign Tuesday morning during an interview with Vermont Public Radio.
"What I promise to do is, as I go around the country, is to take the values that all of us in Vermont are proud of — a belief in justice, in community, in grassroots politics, in town meetings — that's what I'm going to carry all over this country," Sanders told VPR.
And during a November interview with New York Magazine, Sanders said that “if it turns out I’m the best candidate to beat Donald Trump, then I will probably run.” And if that candidate isn’t him, well, Sanders said he’ll work to get that other person elected.
Here’s a look at some of the legislation Sanders has sponsored and supported, as well as policy positions that he advocated for during the previous presidential election.
Sanders popularized the concept of Medicare for All in 2016. He called the Affordable Care Act a “critically important step” toward the goal of universal health care, but said he hoped to expand the success of the pinnacle Obama-era legislation.
He called for a single-payer health care program that would offer comprehensive coverage to all Americans. It would cover the entire spectrum of health care, from inpatient to outpatient care as well as preventive and emergency care. It would also eliminate copay and deductibles.
The Vermont senator is a noted critic of big banks and a proponent of limiting the size of financial institutions, essentially splintering some of Wall Street’s biggest firms like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, alongside insurance giants like Prudential Financial and MetLife, which he proposed in October legislation.
Although it did not pass, the bill would have barred financial institutions from holding assets, derivatives and other forms of borrowing worth more than 3 percent of the U.S. economy, according to The Washington post. Essentially, it would cap the size of banks close to $584 billion.
Sanders has also been outspoken about what he says is the need to hike minimum wage across the board.
Last week, he said he plans to introduce a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. The bill is unlikely to make any headway, however, as Republicans maintain control of the Senate.
And last year, he introduced bills aimed at corporate America, including the Stop BEZOS Act, in order to pressure America’s largest corporations to increase workers’ wages. In addition to Amazon, Sanders has publicly targeted McDonalds, Walmart and American Airlines.
Perhaps more than anything else, though, Sanders has slammed wealth inequality in the U.S.; a tiny percentage of people, he says, hold all the money -- and all the power.
In order to shrink the wealth divide -- Sanders described it as the great economic issue of our time, the great political issue of our time and the great moral issue of time -- the Democratic socialist has offered up several proposed policies.
It includes demanding that wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes; corporations, he said, need to stop shifting profits and jobs overseas to avoid U.S. taxes. He’s also proposed an estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million.
Sanders also wants to pour money into infrastructure, investing $1 trillion over the next five years toward rebuilding roads, bridges and airports, while simultaneously putting 13 million Americans to work. He’s also suggested investing $5.5 billion in youth jobs programs, thus creating 1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans.