Bernie Sanders Running for President in 2016: 'It Probably Would Not Be a Good Idea for People to Underestimate Me'

Bernie Sanders
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) waves to the audience before speaking at the opening of the 2015 National Action Network Convention in New York City April 8, 2015. |

Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont announced Thursday that he would be running for president as a Democrat to challenge Hillary Clinton for the nomination. His formal campaign kickoff will be on May 26 in his home state.

"I think it is time for the American people to say enough is enough," Sanders told The New York Times. "We need an economy that works for all of us and not just for a handful of billionaires. After a year of travel, discussion and dialogue, I have decided to be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president."

Sanders will likely become the first challenger to Clinton, who announced her candidacy on April 12. Sanders let it be known that he will not run any attack ads or a negative campaign but instead address the issues that he is passionate about, which is largely making the economy equal for all and stopping military intervention in foreign countries.

"At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, we need a progressive tax system is this country which is based on ability to pay," Sanders said in a speech last month in Washington. "It is not acceptable that a number of major profitable corporations have paid zero in federal income taxes in recent years, and that millionaire hedge fund managers often enjoy an effective tax rate which is lower than the truck drivers or nurses."

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks after being inducted into the Irish American Hall of Fame in New York, March 16, 2015. |

Sanders is the longest-serving independent in U.S. Congressional history and has primarily caucused with the Democrats; since January 2015, he has been the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Budget Committee. He has a history of being outspoken about his causes and intends to run a campaign the same way.

"I've been traveling around the country for the last year trying to ascertain whether there really is grass-roots support in terms of people standing up and being prepared to take on the billionaire class. I believe that there is," Sanders told USA Today on Wednesday. "I believe they want a fundamental change so that government works for ordinary Americans and not just billionaires."

The 73-year-old senator knows that he has a challenge ahead of him when it comes to getting his name out there as well as raising funds for his campaign, but says he truly believes in the power of the people.

"I am running in this election to win. We've got a long path forward. Most people in America have never heard of Bernie Sanders. More than 90 percent of Americans have heard of Hillary Clinton. I will absolutely be out-spent," he said. "But I do believe we have a chance to raise significant amounts of money through small, individual contributions. It probably would not be a good idea for people to underestimate me."

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