CNN: Bernie Sanders could announce presidential run “within days”

Hillary Clinton has done her best since announcing her bid for the White House to shore up her left flank, but it looks like her best hasn’t been enough to avoid a progressive primary challenge. In one of the less-reported stories emanating from the Sunday shows this week, CNN’s Nia-Malika Henderson reported on Inside Politics with John King that Bernie Sanders could announce that he’s running for president “within days.” MSNBC added that if he were to run, he would do so as a Democrat.

UPDATE: Vermont Public Radio is reporting that Sanders will announce his campaign on Thursday.

CNN has not provided an embed link to place in posts, but you can watch her report here.

Henderson’s report comes from conversations with Sanders advisers in South Carolina this weekend, where a host of potential challengers to Clinton spoke at the state’s Democratic Convention. Per Henderson, Sanders’s speech at the convention received a “standing ovation,” even impressing veteran Democratic leader Congressman Jim Clyburn.

Sanders has previously hinted at a 2016 bid numerous times, but this is the clearest indication he has given that he will enter the race.

While Sanders would not be the only potential primary opponent for Clinton, he is the only one who is uniformly to her left on social, economic and foreign policy issues. Jim Webb is to her right on climate, Martin O’Malley’s body of work puts him to her right terms of both issue statements and fundraising and Lincoln Chafee (who has technically already announced he’s running, but hasn’t filed the paperwork yet) used to hold elected office as a Republican.

Given the fact — yes, fact — that Elizabeth Warren is not going to jump in the 2016 race, this would make Sanders the lone progressive running for president this cycle.

And if he were to win, he would be the actual pot-smoking socialist that conservatives have been wailing about for the last six-plus years.

If Sanders does launch a bid, it won’t be because he expects to win. It will be because he, like many of us, sense a massive void on the left in the current political discourse. The Democratic Party, for all the points they score on the issue, has not yet come to terms with the steps necessary in order to tackle economic inequality. It has not yet come to terms with the steps necessary in order to address climate change. It has not yet come to terms with the steps necessary to reign in the military industrial complex. Bernie Sanders may not be able to beat Hillary Clinton, but he sure as hell can make her talk about these issues, and can make her answer for her record on them. It’s a record that’s suspect at best.

Assuming he does in fact run, I look forward to seeing him on the trail.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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