Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is currently vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, has slammed the U.S. two-party system.
Sanders is the longest-serving Independent congressman in U.S. history, billing himself as a Democratic Socialist throughout his political career.
On Feb. 18, Sanders voiced his disapproval of the two-party system during the MSNBC-hosted Democratic forum in Nevada, deeming it “wrong,” according to The Hill.
“I chose to run proudly in the Democratic primary and caucus and look forward to winning that process,” Sanders said. “But clearly, as a nation, I think we flourish when there are different ideas out there.”
Sanders, despite his history as an Independent, had decided to run on the Democratic ticket because third-party candidates have a historical disadvantage of gaining traction on a national stage.
“Sometimes the two-party system makes it very, very difficult to get on the ballot if you are a third party, and I think that’s wrong,” Sanders said. “I think we should welcome competition.”
The Democratic-Socialist senator has previously been a vocal critic of the the party he is contending to lead, according to The Atlantic.
In 1989, Sanders wrote a New York Times op-ed describing both the Democratic and Republican party as “one party, the — the party of the ruling class… it is absolutely fair to say you are dealing with Tweedledum and Tweedledee.”
This history of distancing himself from the Democratic has won Sanders few establishment support, although it has made him the darling of liberal voters who want to see their party become more progressive.
Someone who agrees with Sanders’ disapproval of the two-party system is his potential rival: former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The multi-billionaire has indicated that he is considering a third-party run in the 2016 general election.
“The problems that we face are very real,” Bloomberg told MSNBC. “We all know about them: There’s wage stagnation at home; American retreat around the world; and a corrupt, gridlocked and broken two-party system that answers to lobbyists and special interests instead of the American people.”
If Bloomberg ran as an independent, he would be gambling on the American people being ready to finally embrace a third party candidate, which would effectively end the seemingly impenetrable two-party system.