On Feb. 19, Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont, launched his 2020 presidential campaign as a Democratic contender (although he is an independent in the senate). Within hours of announcing his entry into the race, he became the Democratic frontrunner and in the week since his announcement, his campaign has raised $10 million already. It is important to note that the Sanders campaign is not accepting any financial backing from corporations or big donors and has had its incredible financial success uniquely from its grassroots movement.
The Sanders phenomenon began in the presidential election of 2016. At that time, the principal issues which he stands for were termed radical, too far to the left, too socialist, too revolutionary and just not adaptable for the United States – basically, all political gibberish in order to pander to the billionaires and Fortune 500 companies.
Today, three years later, the majority, if not all of the Democratic candidates are campaigning for most of the same issues as Senator Sanders. Issues such as universal healthcare, higher taxes on the top 1 percent wealthy individuals and corporations, a $15 minimum wage, free higher education, climate change, gun control, etc. have taken a much higher precedence for the American people than any other time in history.
This may be due to the two years spent in the Trump presidency and people realizing that they have been severely misled with the Republican tax plan, just to name one policy gone wrong. Secondly, in 2019, there is no reason any longer for the United States to be the only industrialized country in the world without socialized healthcare, at least.
One of the most interesting and compelling arguments boosting Bernie Sanders' popularity and campaign is one which states that he is the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump.
The premise for this argument is the anti-establishment voice which Sanders brings to play, giving him an edge over the other Democratic candidates. Furthermore, Trump's tax plan benefiting the elite, if nothing else, demonstrated to his base that believing his anti-establishment speeches in 2016 was not beneficial to them in the least.
Therefore, it is not unrealistic to think that Sanders is the only candidate who can draw Trump supporters and voters into the Democratic camp. His rallies focusing on the excesses of Wall Street and crony capitalism are topics which alienated Trump supporters can relate to.
Bernie Sanders is also the only Democratic candidate who appeals to white, rural voters, those who would otherwise be more inclined to vote for Trump.
On the flip side, appealing to African American voters was a challenge for Sanders last time around, a factor which will probably remain unchanged in 2020, especially with candidates such as Kamala Harris and Cory Booker in the race.
The bottom line is, regardless of demographics, the revolution which Sanders speaks about and has spoken about for over 50 years, is highly overdue in the United States. The time has come to tend to all Americans, regardless of race, religion, age or color and not just the top 1 percent billionaire elites, under the pretext that there will be some sort of a miraculous "trickle down" effect which will cushion and save the other 99 percent. That eyewash of an economic argument, which we have tried year after year since the Reagan administration, has done nothing but create an oligarchy, which in turn has given rise to the biggest income inequality we have ever witnessed in modern American history.
Bernie Sanders understands that. He has always wanted to genuinely change that, along with over 70 percent of Americans.
* Op-Ed contributor based in the United States