Who is Bernie Sanders?
On April 29, 2015 the independent and self-described, ‘Democratic Socialist’ Senator Bernie Sanders a Democrat from Vermont announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States thus giving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a primary challenge. While Secretary Clinton seems poised to win the Democratic nomination – and even the Presidency –, Senator Sanders has declared that he can and will pose a challenge to her, “People should not underestimate me,” he said, “I’ve run outside of the two-party system, defeating Democrats and Republicans, taking on big-money candidates and, you know, I think the message that has resonated in Vermont is a message that can resonate all over this country.”Sanders of Vermont announced his candidacy for the Presidency
While Secretary Clinton is almost certain to be nominated, let’s not forget the 2008 upset by Senator Barack Obama. Sanders has a following in not just Vermont, but in Iowa, and in Vermont’s neighboring State of New Hampshire. Sanders could potentially poise an upset particularly if Benghazi, and the several other controversies catch up to Secretary Clinton. It is for this reason that the Watchdogs put together this profile of Senator Sanders which includes his Biography, a brief look at his voting record, along with his stances on some of the issues.Sanders of Vermont announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States thus giving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a primary challenge. While Secretary Clinton seems poised to win the Democratic nomination – and even the Presidency –, Senator Sanders has declared that he can and will pose a challenge to her, “People should not underestimate me,” he said, “I’ve run outside of the two-party system, defeating Democrats and Republicans, taking on big-money candidates and, you know, I think the message that has resonated in Vermont is a message that can resonate all over this country.”
Vermont is a small state sandwiched between New York to the west, New Hampshire to the east, Massachusetts to South and Canada to the North. Vermont is a heavily Democratic State (Cook Partisan Voting Index gives Vermont a D+16), and has voted as such in every Presidential race since 1992, every state wide office in Vermont (save for the office of the Lt. Governor’s which is held by Republican Phil Scott)is held by a Democrat (Sanders is affiliated with the Democratic Party). But the most interesting aspects of Vermont’s elected officials, is that every state-wide elected official was born in Vermont, save for Bernie Sanders, who was Born on September 8, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of a Polish-Jew paint salesmen, he went to High School in New York, and spent a year at Brooklyn College before transferring to the University of Chicago, where he studied psychology and helped lead protests against racially segregated housing on campus. After his graduation from the University of Chicago he moved to a Kibbutz in Israel where he spent a year – a Kibbutz is a collectivist community.
When he returned the United States, he settled in Burlington, Vermont where he worked as a freelance writer, filmmaker, carpenter and researcher, among other things. He ran many low-key campaigns as a member of the ‘Liberty Union’ party, until he was elected as an Independent to the office of Mayor of Burlington in 1980. He then served as Vermont’s sole congressional representative, from 1990 until his election to the Senate in 2006.
While Bernie Sanders may have – what I believe – an interesting biography, someone who could be in touch with the hardworking middle class. What does Bernie Sanders stand for? In his formal announcement on April 30th, he announced that he wants to make a public colleges free – like in Germany –, his senate website says this, Sen. Sanders has been pushing for higher taxes on the rich and more money for programs serving the middle class and poor since long before talk of income inequality became fashionable. He has long supported creating a public health care system similar to Canada’s and Britain’s. He favors equal pay for women, a higher minimum wage and stronger labor rights. His stances on social issues are also extremely liberal, he was one of the 67 to vote against the 1996 Defense of Marriage act, he supports unlimited Abortion rights, along with a universal healthcare system similar to that of the UK, and he was one of the members of the Senate to boycott Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to congress saying,did not offer any serious alternatives to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Bernie Sanders is running for President, and as he put it, he’s ‘Running to win’. However while he has a high profile in Vermont and in other areas of the country, Sanders is a virtual unknown, who only has a brief amount of time to up his profile before the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary next year. Can Sanders beat Clinton, and became the first ever declared socialist elected President? Only time will tell.
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