Bernie Sanders protesting the furlough of federal workers, October 2013

Bernie Sanders Serious About White House Bid

Bernie Sanders protesting the furlough of federal workers, October 2013 / Getty Images

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders seems to be getting more serious about running for president. He discussed it last November with Salon’s Josh Eidelson, but didn’t have much to say about it; the interview was mainly about the issues that animate him. Now, in a longer interview with John Nichols in The Nation he talks about a Democratic vs. third party run, strategy, money and more.

And separately, in an interview with Time magazine’s Jay Newton-Small , he talks about the pluses and minuses of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama versus Bernie as presidential material, and why the left hasn’t produced an angry grass-roots movement like the Tea Party.

For some smart insight into his Jewish identity, check out this January interview with JTA’s Ron Kampeas.

None of the interviews discusses his age as a presidential consideration; he’s 72, which means he’d be 76 when he started his first term. Hillary is only 66, and some people talk about her age as a disadvantage. Ronald Reagan was 70 when he entered the White House and probably had dementia by the time he left.

Bernie still hasn’t yet decided to throw himself into it, but he’s getting down to strategies in his thinking. He tells Nichols he thinks the Democrats are too close to big-money interests and too many are too similar to Republicans. But he seems to be leaning heavily against a third-party bid, because the odds are very much against success and he doesn’t want to be a Nader-type spoiler:

Nichols opens his piece with a pretty good summary of who Bernie is and what he represents:

Time’s Newton-Small asked Bernie what he thinks of Hillary Clinton. Bernie said he likes her, considers her “a very, very intelligent person.” But in terms of the “political revolution” this country needs, “I think it’s fair to say that Secretary Clinton probably will not be one of the more active people.”

Then, in a revealing moment, Newton-Small asked him bluntly whether he thinks Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would make a better president. Bernie’s reply:

The Nation’s Nichols asked him whether his identification as a socialist wouldn’t hurt him electorally. Bernie, in what could be his most unrealistic moment, says it shouldn’t.

Read the whole Nation interview here. Read the Time interview here.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.


J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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