Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wants to make sure there is a true progressive voice in the 2016 presidential election.
Wall Street corruption, rising poverty levels, and the collapse of the American middle class are issues Sanders has tried to fight head on during his time as a senator. If none of the 2016 presidential candidates want to take these issues seriously, Sanders says he might just run for the office himself.
"There are people in this world who, ever since they were 12 years of age, they decided they wanted to be president of the United States. That is honestly not me," he told the Burlington Free Press recently.
But Sanders says the country is in the midst of a crisis, and another moderate Republican or Democrat president isn’t likely to confront the real issues facing America today.
"Under normal times, it's fine, you have a moderate Democrat running, a moderate Republican running," Sanders said. "These are not normal times. The United States right now is in the middle of a severe crisis and you have to call it what it is."
As an independent, running for president in the Citizens United era of American politics poses another huge obstacle: money. As an anti-Wall Street candidate, Sanders realizes he would struggle to illicit big donor checks in the way his pro-corporate opponents would.
“One of the difficulties for someone like me running is ... I’m not going to get any money from Wall Street or corporate America,” Sanders said. “We have been successful, but it’s one thing to talk about raising money for a Senate campaign in a small state, another thing running for president of the United States.”
But don’t go slap that ‘Sanders 2016’ sticker on your bumper just yet. Last month he told Playboy that he is 99% certain he won’t end up running for President. He left the door open, but just barely.
"I care a lot about working families," he said. "I care a lot about the collapse of the American middle class. I care a lot about the enormous wealth and income disparity in our country. I care a lot that poverty in America is near an all-time high but hardly anyone talks about it. I realize running for president would be a way to shine a spotlight on these issues that are too often in the shadows today. But I am at least 99 percent sure I won't."