Bernie Sanders
Bernie SandersReuters

US Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced on Monday that he is running for re-election, saying American democracy is in question during difficult times for the country and the world, The Associated Press reported.

Sanders, 82, is seeking a fourth Senate term. He is an independent who served as a Democratic congressman for 16 years and still caucuses with the Democrats.

Sanders ran against President Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination before the 2020 election, but dropped out when he failed to build momentum in the primaries.

He had also challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016, but without success.

In an announcement video published on Monday and announcing his re-election bid, Sanders said that in many ways the 2024 election “is the most consequential election in our lifetimes.”

“Will the United States continue to even function as a democracy, or will we move to an authoritarian form of government?” he said in his video message. He questioned whether the country will reverse what he called “the unprecedented level of income and wealth inequality” and if it can create a government that works for all, and a political system not dominated by wealthy campaign contributors.

“I have been, and will be if re-elected, in a strong position to provide the kind of help that Vermonters need in these difficult times,” Sanders said in a review of his positions as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and a member of the Senate Democratic leadership team, as well as a senior member of various other committees.

Sanders also weighed in again on the war in Gaza, saying Israel has the right to defend itself against the October 7 “horrific” attack and hostage taking by the terrorist organization Hamas “but it did not and does not have the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people, which is exactly what it is doing.”

“In my view, US taxpayers should not be providing billions more to the extremist Netanyahu government to continue its devastating war against the Palestinian people,” he said.

Sanders has been critical of Israel’s government in the past, referring to it as “racist” and has long advocated for the US to condition its aid to Israel.

Sanders previously called on Congress to reject the $10.1 billion in unconditional military aid being considered for Israel, saying the funds would be used by the Israeli government “to continue its brutal war against the Palestinian people.”

Despite the fact that Sanders has become steadily more critical of Israel’s war in Gaza, he continues to resist calling for a permanent ceasefire, which he says would open the door to further Hamas attacks.