Speaking to the Post’s Robert Costa, Sanders argued that his 2020 presidential run shifted the party to the left on many issues, and that his strength with young voters shows “the future is with our ideas.”
He told Costa, “I suspended the campaign, but we certainly do not suspend the movement. That grassroots movement must continue, it will continue, and we will transform this country.”
But, the 78-year-old said, it probably will not be him pushing those ideas in a future presidential election, calling the likelihood of another run “very, very slim”
“Next time around you’re gonna see another candidate carrying the progressive banner,” he added.
Sanders reiterated his support of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and said that while they disagree on some issues, he thinks Biden will “come out fairly strongly for some progressive ideas.”
Sanders first ran for president in 2016, making a surprisingly strong challenge to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and assembling a large progressive movement supported by young voters. He mounted another bid in 2020, initially emerging strong after popular vote wins in the first three contests but faltering in South Carolina and Super Tuesday, which Biden won handily. Sanders suspended his campaign in April and endorsed Biden shortly after.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Sanders has no obvious successor, but a number of progressive politicians have been floated as standard bearers in future presidential races. Perhaps the most common name that comes up is that of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who rose to national prominence after unseating a powerful Democratic congressional leader and has amassed an enormous following on social media. But if she were to run in 2024, she would just barely meet the constitutional age requirement to be president.
Other possibilities include Ocasio-Cortez’s colleagues in the progressive “squad,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). More established figures mentioned include California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Jeff Merkeley (D-Ore.), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Sanders’ former 2020 rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner and former Georgia State Representative Stacey Abrams have sometimes been mentioned as long shot candidates to take up the progressive mantle.