Bernie Sanders launches 2020 presidential bid

US Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally to kick off his 2020 US presidential campaign

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AFP

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Mr Sanders chose the city of his birth to kick off his campaign

US Senator Bernie Sanders has launched his bid to be president in 2020 with an attack on corporate greed and a promise to unleash a “political revolution”.

Speaking in Brooklyn, New York he called Donald Trump the “most dangerous president” in recent US history.

Mr Sanders, a 77-year-old independent Senator for Vermont, lost the 2016 Democrat race to Hillary Clinton.

He faces a much more crowded field this time but brings name recognition and a passionate support base.

More than 10 others are also running to be Democrat candidate, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and the Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, Julian Castro.

What would a Sanders presidency look like?

His speech promised a presidency that would “bring people together”. He outlined numerous policies and attacked greed and the “billionaire class”. As president, he said he would:

  • Enact a “federal jobs guarantee” to ensure all Americans have work
  • Raise the minimum wage
  • Pass “comprehensive” immigration reform, including allowing hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants to stay in the US
  • Make universities and colleges tuition-free
  • Reform healthcare to give universal coverage

He promised to fight for “economic justice, social justice, racial justice and environmental justice”.

BBC North America reporter Anthony Zurcher says one of the challenges Mr Sanders faces is that the Democratic Party has shifted to the left, making his message less distinctive.

What did he have to say about President Trump?

Mr Sanders was born in Brooklyn, and the backdrop for his speech gave him an opportunity to contrast himself with the president.

He grew up as the son of a Jewish immigrant who worked as a paint seller, while Mr Trump, who also was born in New York, was the son of a wealthy real estate developer.

“I did not have a father who gave me millions of dollars to build luxury skyscrapers, casinos and country clubs,” he said.

“But I had something more valuable: I had the role model of a father who had unbelievable courage in journeying across an ocean, with no money in his pocket, to start a new and better life.”

As he was speaking Mr Trump was addressing a conference of conservative activists, in which he said the forthcoming report on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election was an attempt to “take him out”.

Who is Bernie Sanders?

Mr Sanders is the longest-serving independent in congressional history, but competes for the Democratic nomination as he says standing as a third-party candidate would diminish his chances of winning the presidency.

He attended the University of Chicago, and in the 1960s and 1970s participated in anti-war and civil rights activism, like the 1963 March on Washington.

In 1990, he became the first independent in 40 years to be elected to the House of Representatives. He served there until he ran for and won a seat in the Senate in 2007.

Mr Sanders entered the race for the 2016 Democratic nomination as a marginal candidate but emerged as a surprise star during a series of televised debates.

He labels himself a Democratic socialist, which he has defined as someone who seeks to “create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy”.

He became Mrs Clinton’s closest rival, but she ultimately won the nomination before losing the presidential election to Mr Trump.


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