Bernie Sanders, the independent U.S. senator who represented third-party interests in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, on Saturday stepped back into the spotlight with a rally for his 2020 run at the presidency.
The rally at Brooklyn College, which he attended, was meant to showcase a more personal aspect of the candidate not emphasized during his 2016 run. His working-class background — he grew up living in a small, rent-controlled Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment — served to contrast with that of sitting President Donald Trump, who grew up wealthy in nearby Queens.
"I know what it's like to be in a family that lives paycheck to paycheck," he said, describing his immigrant father's struggle to establish himself in the United States. While Sanders made little of his Jewish ancestry in the 2016 race, on Saturday he said his father's family was "wiped out" in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Sanders also called Trump "the most dangerous president in modern American history," and promised to fight for "economic justice, social justice, racial justice and environmental justice."
He also said, "The underlying principles of our government will not be greed, hatred and lies. It will not be racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and religious bigotry. That is going to end."
Seeking to broaden his appeal to minorities, Sanders will appear in Selma, Ala., on Sunday to participate in events commemorating the Selma civil rights march, which took place in 1965.
While Sanders is one of the best-known candidates of the already crowded race for the 2020 Democratic nomination, he is noted for his grass-roots following, which made him a surprisingly strong challenger to Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton in 2016.