Senator Bernie Sanders is leading the Democratic presidential race, at least according to ‘power rankings’ from CNN. Sanders is currently leading the pack of declared candidates. Though the Vermont Democrat is behind former Vice President Joe Biden in most polls, Biden has yet to declare.
Sanders was unable to win the Democratic nomination in 2016, losing out to long-established favorite Hillary Clinton. This time around, Sanders is one of the main contenders, if not the most popular, for the 2020 nomination. In a crowded field, his personal fame has helped him stand out.
However, criticism of Sanders has begun in earnest. The Senator’s positions on matters like race relations have come under increased scrutiny. Sanders was booed while answering a question about white nationalism recently. The audience seemed to groan as he returned to talking points on race.
Sanders’ appeal to African-Americans and other minorities could be a major problem in the upcoming Democratic primaries. But another major issue facing Sanders is his finances. Sanders has faced criticism for becoming a millionaire through the publication of his book.
Though he was defended his income, many media outlets have latched on to comments Sanders made in the 1970s. Sanders said at the time that millionaire senators were ‘immoral’. Some have used this to suggest hypocrisy. As some have noted, however, a million dollars in the 1970s is not the same as a million dollars in 2019.
Sanders will face ever closer scrutiny as his presidential campaign continues. He may not have received as much media attention as Clinton or Trump in 2016, but now he is a potential front runner, it’s likely more old statements will resurface and criticism will intensify.