After the 2016 election, those who are — how should I say it? — displeased with the results are turning our attention toward how to most effectively resist what is poised to be a strong push for conservative and Trumpian agendas with Republicans taking control of the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. One of the areas we're looking at is who we have, or could have, in office to resist and eventually reverse that push. Sen. Bernie Sanders is high on that list after launching an impressive bid for the Democratic nomination from the progressive left. Will Sanders run for office again?
Of course, the most pressing question on his supporters' minds, and perhaps on the minds of those who didn't vote for him in the primaries but think he can bring the Democratic Party in the direction it needs to go, is: Will Sanders run for president in 2020? Thus far, the Vermont senator hasn't decided either way. He told the the Associated Press in an interview following the election, "Four years is a long time from now. ... We'll take one thing at a time, but I'm not ruling out anything."
However, I am pretty sure we can expect Sanders to run again for the Senate seat he currently holds; he noted in his interview that he's up for reelection in 2018. Those of us in the great little state of Vermont are fortunate to have the senator as our representative, despite his primary loss. And, though I'm wary to make any definitive forecasts after the big upset that was the presidential election, it's fairly safe to say that Vermont will reelect Sanders. He's the most popular senator in America, garnering an 80 percent approval rating from his Green Mountain State constituents as of September, according to a Morning Consult survey.
Even with a Republican controlled-Senate, I expect Sanders will get plenty done. First, there are the nuts and bolts of the Senate that give the minority party quite a bit of power to block legislation they don't like. (Sanders caucuses with the Democrats, but he announced after the primaries that he intends to re-register as an independent). The Senate allows senators to filibuster, or begin endless debate on a piece of legislation that prevents it from reaching a vote.
Another important legislative area where Sanders could hold some serious sway regards amendments. Sanders is known for getting amendments added to bills to push for progressive causes. And it's possible he'll have an easier time of it after his impressive performance during the primaries. Sure, he was a giant headache to the Democratic establishment then, but the competitiveness of his primary race likely gave him and his politics extra credibility among fellow lawmakers. And, given the eventual defeat of the establishment candidate, it's also likely that plenty within the Democratic ranks may think the party needs a new direction, and that perhaps Sanders is one to which they should look.
Sanders will almost certainly run for and win his Senate seat in 2018. As for whether the then-79-year-old Democratic socialist will make another presidential bid in 2020, well, as he said, he's not ruling it out.