Sunday, December 31, 2017
On New Years Day 2018, on the steps of New York City Hall, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, runner-up for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination and potential 2020 presidential candidate, is to conduct the swearing-in of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, himself a potential 2020 presidential contender. In a statement, de Blasio, who was re-elected as Mayor this past November, claims to have invited Sanders due to the progressive icon’s Brooklyn, New York roots and advocacy on behalf of working people. Analysts say the invitation is a calculated political move on behalf of de Blasio to take advantage of Sanders’ popularity.
Sanders, 76, a self-identified Socialist, was born in Brooklyn before relocating to his current home of Vermont. After running for various public offices in the 1970s as a member of the anti-war Liberty Union Party, Sanders won election as Mayor of Burlington in 1981, serving three successive terms. In 1990, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives as an Independent, serving for 16 years before winning election to the U.S. Senate, again as an Independent. During his 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders garnered grassroots support, finishing second at the Democratic National Convention to Hillary Clinton, whose husband, former President Bill Clinton, administered de Blasio’s oath for Mayor in 2014.
Sanders’ 2016 performance and ensuing popularity within the Democratic Party has led to speculation about his plans in 2020. According to Politico, Sanders is taking steps toward a 2020 run. Referencing Sanders’ advanced age, incumbent President Donald Trump, who has already announced plans to run for re-election in 2020, said he expects Sanders to run “even if he’s in a wheelchair.”
News outlets have also speculated about de Blasio’s 2020 prospects. Last week, de Blasio delivered a speech in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, prompting publications such as The Week and Newsweek to discuss whether the speech, delivered before about 200 progressive activists in Des Moines concerning the direction of the Democratic Party, was a way for de Blasio to test the waters for a potential run. De Blasio himself has denied he is running for President, though speculation persists.
Congressman John Delaney of Maryland is currently the only prominent Democrat officially running for President. Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York are also expected to run.