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OPINION: Why Bernie should have left his presidential hopes in 2016

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Opinion writer Maddie Kramer argues that while Bernie Sanders has some great ideas, his divisiveness endangers Democrat’s hopes of winning the presidency, and he should step aside in favor of a young, fresh challenger.

Sen. Bernie Sanders made waves in 2016, shaking up the Democrat party with ideas of socialism and a very progressive platform. The independent from Vermont announced his second run for president on Feb. 19. Many were anticipating another run from him, however, he already stands out in the field of primary candidates in a much different way than in 2016.

The Democratic primary field is already becoming crowded, with 11 candidates announced. The 2016 election, when there were only 5 candidates, pales in comparison. Bernie was a strong competitor to Hillary Clinton, but ended up losing the Democratic primary by 1,000 delegates.

Bernie created a large following with his grassroots campaign in 2016. The Democratic party became divided between those who supported Sanders and those who supported Clinton.

This gap only widened when leaked emails emerged between former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Clinton campaign, which seemed to suggest the party primary was in Clinton’s favor all along. This rivalry split the party into far-left progressives for Sanders and more traditional, moderate Democrats for Clinton.

Bernie has the possibility to do the same thing this election.

Currently, the primary field is full of young women and people of color. These politicians running for 2020 represent new ideas and generations that feel underrepresented. This is a much different picture than a 77-year-old white man. The young, revitalized Democratic candidates include 45-year-old Latino Julian Castro, 55-year-old African-American woman Kamala Harris, and 37-year-old gay man Pete Buttigieg.

These candidates have new and fresh ideas that can bring different perspectives to the Democratic party and America, and these new candidates deserve a shot at the presidency.

Bernie created an amazing grassroots campaign and movement among young voters, but he needs to let new progressive voices rise.

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