Will Sanders' Run for the White House Help Build a National Progressive Movement Beyond '16 Campaign?

Posted May 6, 2015

MP3 Interview with Greg Guma, activist, author and historian, conducted by Scott Harris


With his announcement on April 30, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, launched his campaign for president and ended concern by some in the Democratic party that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would face no competition in primary contests next year. Sanders, a proud Democratic socialist, began his political career by winning the mayor’s office in Vermont’s largest city, Burlington, in 1981. In 1990, he was elected to represent Vermont’s lone House seat. After serving 16 years in the House, Sanders ran for and won election as Vermont’s junior senator in 2006, and won re-election by a wide margin in 2012.

Sanders, who has long railed against corporate power and warned against the dangers of growing income inequality, began his quest for the presidency by raising more than $1.5 million in the first 24 hours of the campaign, surpassing Republican candidates Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Sanders drew contributions from some 35,000 donors who gave an average of just over $43 each – and signed up over 175,000 volunteers in the days immediately following his announcement.

Sanders’ campaign platform is focused on five central issues: ending income inequality; creating millions of decent-paying jobs; stopping climate change; providing health care for all Americans and overturning the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and restoring campaign finance laws. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Greg Guma, a Vermont-based activist, journalist and historian who has known Bernie Sanders for four decades. His book, “The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution,” chronicles Bernie’s early political career. Here, he discusses the Vermont senator’s accomplishments and the potential of Sanders' campaign to strengthen the U.S. progressive movement beyond the 2016 election.

Find Greg Guma's blog post, see "Burlington and Bernie: Progressive Eclipse," April 30, 2015.

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