Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) was the first national organization to encourage Vermont's independent Sen. Bernie Sanders to launch his 2016 presidential campaign, and on Wednesday the group officially launched a "Run Bernie Run" campaign for 2020, arguing that the nation's most popular politician has the policy agenda and grassroots enthusiasm to defeat President Donald Trump and lead the U.S. in a genuinely progressive direction.
"Bernie Sanders is prepared to lead the United States. PDA does not want a Medicare for All gradualist or a money-in-politics or voting rights gradualist."
—Progressive Democrats of America"At this hour of our history, we need to hear from America's strongest advocate for working people, for honest democracy, and a courageous response to the climate emergency. We need Bernie Sanders on the main stage," declared PDA executive director Alan Minsky in a statement. "Bernie Sanders is prepared to lead the United States. PDA does not want a Medicare for All gradualist or a money-in-politics or voting rights gradualist. We do not want a candidate too timid to address the realities of institutional racism, and most certainly, we cannot support a climate change gradualist."
"On all of these issues and more, Bernie Sanders has demonstrated that he has the courage and vision to lead," Minsky continued. "Bernie Sanders would be a great President. Therefore, we at PDA are, once again, proclaiming Run Bernie Run!"
Of course, PDA is not alone in its assessment that Sanders remains the strongest possible candidate to take on Trump and steer the country in a more progressive direction:
I don't see any alternative for the left to Bernie Sanders in 2020. I am open to having my mind changed, but in the absence of any clear alternative options I think we should prepare ourselves to do everything possible to elect him. https://t.co/ZPWvdhZOd2
— Nathan J Robinson (@NathanJRobinson) November 28, 2018
With the launch of its new campaign this week, PDA began circulating a petition "strongly" urging Sanders to run for president in 2020. As of this writing, the petition already has over 6,400 signatures.
"At this hour of our history, we need to hear from America’s strongest advocate for working people, for honest democracy, and a courageous response to the climate emergency. We need @BernieSanders on the main stage!" https://t.co/3vl0otZYq2
— PDAmerica (@pdamerica) November 28, 2018
While Sanders has not yet announced whether he plans to run for president in 2020, the Vermont senator said during an appearance at Georgetown University on Tuesday that he is speaking to his close advisers and working to determine if he will be the strongest candidate to take on Trump in what is expected to be a crowded Democratic field.
"If there's somebody else who appears who can, for whatever reason, do a better job than me, I'll work my ass off to elect him or her," Sanders told New York Magazine in an interview published earlier this week. But, he added, "if it turns out that I am the best candidate to beat Donald Trump, then I will probably run."
On top of traveling to promote his new book this week and continuing to push his legislative agenda in the Senate—such as his resolution end U.S. complicity in Saudi atrocities in Yemen—Sanders on Thursday will deliver the keynote address to a "gathering" of high-profile progressives from the U.S. and around the world hosted by the Sanders Institute, a think tank launched by the Vermont senator's wife, Jane Sanders, in 2017.
The three-day meeting—which has added even more fuel to speculation that the Vermont senator is preparing to launch his presidential campaign—will feature discussions of the major issues that form the core of Sanders' policy agenda, from Medicare for All to a Green New Deal to criminal justice reform.
Speakers at the event will include journalist and environmentalist Naomi Klein, economist and former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, former National Nurses United executive director RoseAnn DeMoro, and many other prominent progressive voices.