Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday announced that he will run for the White House as a Democrat, positioning himself as a socialist alternative to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary.
“We’re in this race to win,” Sanders told reporters at a news conference outside the Capitol.
But the Vermont senator suggested that while he is the first Democratic challenger to Clinton to enter the race, he doesn’t plan to run negative ads against her.
“I’ve never run a negative ad in my life,” Sanders said. “I’ve been in many campaigns. And you ask the people of Vermont. They will tell you Bernie Sanders has never run a negative ad. I hate and detest these 30-second, ugly negative ads.”
Sanders is an independent in the Senate but will run for the White House as a Democrat. During his news conference, he drew attention to his “unusual political history.”
“You’re looking at a guy, undisputedly, who has the most unusual political history of anybody in the United States Congress,” Sanders said. “It’s not only that I’m the longest serving independent in the history of the Congress. I’ve run for statewide office, I got 1 percent of the vote. I don’t know if I should be proud of that. My last election I got 71 percent of the vote.”
Sanders also gave a taste of the issues he will raise in the primary.
“We can’t continue having a nation where we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any nation on earth at the same time as we’re seeing a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires,” Sanders said.
He added: “The major issue is how do we create an economy that works for all of our people rather than a small number of billionaires.”
“I believe that in a democracy, what elections are about, are serious debates over serious issues,” Sanders said. “Not political gossip. Not making campaigns into soap operas. This is not the red sox versus the yankees. This is the debate over major issues facing the american people.”