The Slatest

Liberal Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders May Run for President in 2016 as Democrat

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on September 8, 2014.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Famously independent Sen. Bernie Sanders says he may run for president in 2016, either as an independent or a Democrat. In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Sanders insisted that “the issue is not Hillary,” but it seems clear a Sanders run could complicate Clinton’s path to the White House, considering there would be significant crossover in their supporters. Sanders says he’s going to Iowa to test the waters and analyze whether it makes more sense for him to run as an independent or a Democrat.

“The truth is, profound anger at both political parties, more and more people are becoming independent, the negative is, how do you set up a 50-state infrastructure as an independent?” he asked. Sanders made it clear he would run on a message of change to try to appeal to middle-class voters angry at Wall Street. “The American people want change. They want Congress, they want candidates to stand up to the big money interests,” Sanders said. “I think anybody who speaks to the needs of the working class and the middle class of this country and shows the courage to take on the billionaire class, I think that candidate will do pretty well.”

Sanders’ message is likely to appeal to progressive Democrats who are famously wary of Clinton, points out the Hill. And even if he doesn’t get very far, Sanders could still help shape the issues that take center stage during the presidential campaign. “There is a profound anger at understanding that the middle class is disappearing,” Sanders said.

The Vermont independent talked of his plans as Clinton returned to Iowa Sunday to headline, along with Bill Clinton, Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry fundraiser, reports the Associated Press. This year, the event will be a farewell for Harkin, who is retiring from Congress. Clinton has not returned to Iowa since she lost the January 2008 presidential caucuses.