Bernie Embarking on Testing-the-Waters Tour for 2020?

Sanders raises eyebrows with launch of multi-state jaunt in three midwest states won by Trump

Despite recently keeping mum on his 2020 intentions, it seems that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), age 75, may still have his democratic-socialist eye fixated on the White House.

The Vermont senator is embarking next week on a multi-state, multi-city tour targeting the very Rust Belt regions that helped hand President Donald Trump a victory in the 2016 election.

“U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will attend events in Indianapolis, Portsmouth, Ohio, and Detroit next week,” said a press release from Sanders’ campaign. The statement makes it explicitly clear that Sanders seeks to win over the white blue-collar workers who cut in favor of Trump in the last election.

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“He will kick off the swing in Indianapolis Monday with a rally on jobs and the economy hosted by Good Jobs Nation and Chuck Jones, the recently retired president of United Steelworkers Local 1999,” it said. “Sanders will head to Portsmouth, Ohio, Tuesday for a rally on jobs, health care and the economy. Portsmouth is located in Scioto County, which Donald Trump won by 37 points in 2016.”

In July, Sirius Radio host Mark Thompson asked Sanders about his intentions toward a White House run. “I am not taking it off the table. I just have not made any decisions. And I think it’s much too early … It’s just too early to be talking about an election three-and-a-half years from now,” Sanders said.

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Later last month, Sanders again implied that he had made no decisions about 2020 during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Host Jake Tapper brought up Sanders’ Sirius Radio appearance. “On August 31, you’re going to be back in Iowa, specifically in Iowa City, to promote your new book, ‘Bernie Sanders’ Guide to Political Revolution.’ Are you testing the waters for 2020? Is this still possible, that you’re going to run for president?” Tapper asked.

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At the time, Sanders laughed off the question and tried to play cool. “You know, Jake, one of the things that I always get a kick out of is that in Canada, they have elections, I think it’s [over a] two-month period,” he said. “In the U.K., it’s even shorter than that. In the United States, we have never-ending elections.”

“Right now, as the United States senator from the state of Vermont, I am dealing with enormous issues,” Sanders continued, mentioning health care, taxes, and the economy. “Those are the issues that I and other members of Congress should be dealing with right now. We’ve got three years before the presidential election. We’ve got plenty of time for candidates or potential candidates to make decisions.”

Sanders’ tri-state tour of the Rust Belt comes before the scheduled August 31 appearance in Iowa to which Tapper referred, as well as a scheduled Labor Day appearance before the AFL-CIO in the key state of New Hampshire.

(photo credit, homepage image: Gage Skidmore)

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