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The 21st Democratic Presidential Candidate Has Entered the 2020 Race — Make It Stop

There are already 20 Democrats running for president in 2020. Why did Colorado Senator Michael Bennet decide to join them? Where will it end?

Michael bennet. U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, D-Colo., greets voters before U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally with young voters on the campus of the University of Colorado, in Boulder, Colo. Sanders is riding a bus around the state with Democratic candidates to drum up support for them before Election DayElection 2018 Senator Colorado - 24 Oct 2018

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) greets voters before Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally with young voters on the campus of the University of Colorado.

David Zalubowski/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) announced on Thursday that he is running for president. He broke the news to John Dickerson on CBS This Morning. “I think this country faces two enormous challenges,” Bennet said. “One is a lack of economic mobility and opportunity for most Americans. The other is the need to restore integrity to our government. I think we need to do both of those things.”

Bennet also released a campaign video titled “7,591 words,” after the number of words in the Constitution. “The word ‘politics’ is not among them,” Bennet notes, before preaching the need to invest not in tax cuts for the wealthy and wars in the Middle East, but in social security, the VA, teacher pay, climate change and more. He also makes a point to say that he is not in favor of Medicare-for-All or free college, two progressive policy proposals that have gained traction among some of the Democratic frontrunners. “I’m not going to say there’s a simple solution to a problem if I don’t believe there is one.”

Bennet, 54, is the 21st Democrat to enter the race — 22nd if you count former Senator Mike Gravel — and the second from Coloardo, following former governor John Hickenlooper, who announced in March. Bennet has served in the Senate since 2009, before which he was the superintendent of Denver Public Schools. His decade in Washington hasn’t featured many high-profile moments, as he notes in his campaign video. “You probably don’t know me because I don’t go on cable news every night,” he said. “I didn’t set out to be a politician. My last job was superintendent of Denver Public Schools. I didn’t go to Washington to get attention. I went to pay attention to what would help the people who sent me there make their lives better.”

Though Bennet may like to fly under the radar, he did draw attention for his dramatic excoriation of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) over disaster relief funding in January. “These crocodile tears that the senator from Texas is crying for first responders are too hard for me to take,” he said. “When the senator from Texas shut this government down in 2013, my state was flooded. It was underwater! People were killed! People’s houses were destroyed! Small businesses were ruined! Forever!”

Bennet’s announcement comes weeks after he underwent successful prostate cancer surgery. He noted last month that the initial diagnosis delayed his announcement. “The idea was to announce sometime in April,” he told the Colorado Independent. “That was the plan. We hired some staff. We interviewed people for positions in New Hampshire and Iowa. And then I went for the physical. In my last physical, my PSA was high. They did a biopsy, and it was clear. But this time, it was not clear.”

He’s said that he was first inclined to run while writing a book about partisanship in Washington. He referenced the book and its message Thursday on CBS This Morning. “I’ve spent the last couple of years writing a book about our politics over the last 10 years or so,” he said. “I became convinced in that process that … if we keep going down this road, we’re going to be the first generation of Americans to leave less opportunity, not more, to the next generation,” he added. “I need to do everything I can do to make sure we don’t do that.”

Bennet’s announcement comes a day after news broke that Montana Governor Steve Bullock plans to announce his candidacy, and a week after Joe Biden and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) announced theirs. Two week before that, Sen. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) decided he wanted to be president, too. The tide of new candidates will likely stop whenever Bullock makes it official, although New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio still seems to be flirting with the idea of mounting a run himself. Unfortunately for Mayor de Blasio, he’s currently bringing up the rear of Rolling Stone‘s 2020 Democratic candidate power rankings.

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