Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders often runs against the grain of the Democratic Party he’s allied political with (but not a member).
Tuesday, he announced a plan that has House Speaker Nancy Pelosi furious — because it will take attention of her chosen rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.
Sanders will be holding his own, personal rebuttal to Trump.
Many insiders see this as the Vermont independent senator’s first step towards running for president in 2020. Sanders lost the Democratic primary in 2016 to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Sanders supporters claimed the primary was rigged by Clinton loyalists.
Formally, Sanders has yet to reveal whether he plans to compete with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others in 2020′s crowded Democratic presidential primary. But Sanders’ latest moves have political experts speculating he’s prepared to throw his hat into the ring.
Besides hosting his own State of the Union rebuttall, Sanders has also announced a new tax plan that sends a clear signal that he expects to be part of an escalating public debate over taxing the wealthy — a debate he connected back to his first presidential bid in 2016.
During Sanders’ challenge to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary, he recalled on Capitol Hill on Thursday, “everyone told me I was too extreme, this is not what the American people want, this is not what the Democratic Party should do.”
“Well, it turns out that poll after poll says that in midst of massive income and wealth inequality … the American people do not think it’s appropriate that three people in America own more wealth than the bottom half of the country,” Sanders said.
CNN has condemned Sanders’ State of the Union response, saying the move will ultimately hurt his own 2020 chances by alienating Democrats.
— The Horn editorial team