Bernard "Bernie" Sanders (born September 8, 1941) is an American politician. He is the Senior United States senator from Vermont. He is an Independent, but often votes with the Democratic Party in the Senate. He became senator on January 3, 2007. He ran for President of the United States in 2016 and in 2020.
|United States Senator|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2007
Serving with Peter Welch
|Preceded by||Jim Jeffords|
|Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2023
|Preceded by||Patty Murray|
|Chair of the Senate Budget Committee|
February 3, 2021 – January 3, 2023
|Preceded by||Mike Enzi|
|Succeeded by||Sheldon Whitehouse|
|Chair of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee|
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Patty Murray|
|Succeeded by||Johnny Isakson|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Vermont's at-large district
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Peter Plympton Smith|
|Succeeded by||Peter Welch|
|37th Mayor of Burlington|
April 6, 1981 – April 4, 1989
|Preceded by||Gordon Paquette|
|Succeeded by||Peter Clavelle|
September 8, 1941
New York City, U.S.
|Vermont Progressive[c] (1981–present)|
|Children||4; including 3 step-children|
|Relatives||Larry Sanders (brother)|
University of Chicago (BA)
Sanders was born in Brooklyn, New York City. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964. While a student, he was active in organizing protests for civil rights. In 1963, he took part in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech.
Sanders was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981. He was re-elected three times. In 1991, he became a United States representative for Vermont's at-large congressional district. He was a congressman for 16 years. In 2006, he was elected to the U.S. Senate after he won 64.5% of the vote. In 2012, he was re-elected by winning almost 71% of the vote. In 2018, he was re-elected by winning nearly 68% of the vote.
Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist. He thinks that a social democratic government for the United States is a good idea. Sanders is against income inequality and is supporting universal health care, parental leave and LGBT rights. He is against racial inequality and mass surveillance. In January 2015, Sanders became a member of the Senate Budget Committee. Sanders has been seen as the most popular senator in the country by multiple yearly polls.
On April 30, 2015, Sanders became a candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination for President in the 2016 United States presidential election. He made the announcement in a speech on the Capitol lawn. His campaign started on May 26 in Burlington. Unlike some of the other presidential candidates, Sanders did not want Super PACS to give him money. People give him money on his website. He won 22 primaries and caucuses in the 2016 Democratic primaries. He won about 45% of pledged delegates to Hillary Clinton's 55%. On July 12, 2016, he formally endorsed Clinton due to DNC policies, but did not end his own presidential campaign. On July 26, 2016, during a roll-call vote at the 2016 Democratic National Convention Sanders lost the nomination to Clinton.
After his presidential campaign ended, he started an organization, Our Revolution. Its goal is to "recruit and support candidates for local, state, and national office". He has also announced the upcoming creation of The Sanders Institute, which will spread his political ideas through documentary movies and other media. In February 2017, Sanders began webcasting The Bernie Sanders Show on Facebook.
On February 19, 2019, Sanders announced a second presidential campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election. His 2020 campaign had raised over four million in donations from individual donors, the largest than any other presidential candidate in history. In early 2020, Sanders was seen as the front-runner for the nomination after winning the first three primary contests and leading in national polling numbers, but after Joe Biden won most of the Super Tuesday contests in March the primary became more competitive. After failing to win many primary states, Sanders ended his campaign on April 8, 2020, later supporting Biden's campaign for President.
Sanders was born in Brooklyn, New York to Eli Sanders and to Dorothy Glassberg. His father was a Jewish immigrant born in Słopnice, Poland in 1904. His mother was born to Jewish parents in New York City in 1912. He has an older brother, Larry. His grandparents were murdered in the Holocaust. His mother died in 1960 and his father died in 1962.
Sanders studied at Brooklyn College. After he graduated from college, Sanders went to the University of Chicago. When he studied in Chicago, Sanders was a leader of the University of Chicago sit-ins in 1962 because of segregation at the university. He graduated from the university in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He said that he was an average student who thought that classrooms were boring and that his community activism was more important.
He was one of thousands of students who traveled by bus to Washington, D.C., to be part of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Later that summer, he was found guilty of resisting arrest during a protest against segregation in Chicago's public schools and was fined $25.
Liberty Union campaigns, 1971–79Edit
Sanders began his political career in 1971 as a member of the Liberty Union Party. He was the Liberty Union candidate for Governor of Vermont in 1972 and 1976. He was also a candidate for senator in 1972 and 1974. In the 1974 Senate election, Sanders lost to Patrick Leahy and to Dick Mallary. In 1979, Sanders resigned from the party.
Mayor of Burlington, 1981–89Edit
After Sanders's failed run for governor, close friend Richard Sugarman wanted him to be a candidate for mayor of Burlington. Sanders won the election in February 1981. He beat the six-term mayor Gordon Paquette by ten votes. He took office on April 6, 1981.
As mayor, Sanders wanted to fix Burlington's Lake Champlain. In 1981, Sanders was against Tony Pomerleau. Sanders did not want Pomerleau to change the industrial lake property owned by the Central Vermont Railway. He did not want the waterfront to become expensive condominiums, hotels, and offices.
Sanders used the slogan "Burlington is not for sale". He supported a plan that changed the waterfront area into a district with housing, parks, and public space. As of 2016, the lake area has a public beach and bike paths, along with a boathouse, many parks, and a science center.
When he was mayor, Sanders helped to fix the city's budget. Sanders left office on April 4, 1989. For a short time, Sanders taught political science at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in 1989 and at Hamilton College in 1991.
United States representative, 1991–2007Edit
Sanders became a candidate for the seat as an Independent, but he lost the election. In 1990, Sanders became a candidate for the seat again and defeated Peter Plympton Smith by 16%. Sanders became the first independent elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 40 years. Sanders' 1990 victory was called by The Washington Post and others as the "First Socialist Elected" to the United States House of Representatives in many years. Sanders continued to win re-elections with many votes.
In 1991, Sanders co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He chaired the grouping of mostly liberal Democrats for the first eight years. In 1993, Sanders voted for a bill supported by the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) to stop lawsuits against gun companies. He was against the Brady Bill.
Sanders voted against the Iraq Resolutions in 1991 and 2002. He was against the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He voted for the allowed use of military force against terrorists. The authorization looked for good reasons to use military actions after the September 11 attacks.
United States senator, 2007–presentEdit
After Jim Jeffords retired from the Senate in 2006, Sanders became senator when he won the Senate election with 65% of the vote. During the election season, then-Senator Barack Obama supported Sanders and campaigned with him in Vermont.
Sanders has been a leading voice on issues such as income inequality, climate change, and campaign finance reform. Sanders continued to be a major critic on mass surveillance policies such as the Patriot Act.
On December 10, 2010, Sanders gave a 8½-hour speech against the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. After the speech, people wanted Sanders to be a candidate for president in the 2012 presidential election.
On January 3, 2013, Sanders became chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. After his term as chairman ended on January 3, 2015, Sanders became a member of the Senate Budget Committee. Sanders made proposals to raise the minimum wage, stop income inequality, and increase Social Security payments.
Sanders is the longest serving Independent member of Congress in American history. In November 2015, Sanders changed parties and became a member of the Democratic Party. On July 26, 2016, however shortly after losing the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders said he would serve as an Independent in the Senate.
On January 4, 2017, while on the Senate floor, Sanders showed a large cutout of a tweet by President-elect Trump from May 2015 where Trump said he was the "first & only potential GOP candidate" who opposed any cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, citing it as what Trump appealed to older voters to elect him on.
On March 30, two days after President Trump signed an "Energy Independence" executive order, Sanders called Trump's choice to focus on job creation over climate change is "nonsensical, and stupid, and dangerous".
Sanders was against the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. He outlined his issues with Gorsuch in an April 4, 2017 appearance on the Senate floor. Sanders said he believed Gorsuch would support removing restrictions on campaign finance and would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
On April 7, 2017, Sanders showed disapproval of President Trump's ordered airstrike from the day before: "If there’s anything we should’ve learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which the lives of thousands of brave American men and women and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians have been lost and trillions of dollars spent, it’s that it’s easier to get into a war than out of one."
On June 11, 2017, Sanders was a keynote speaker at the People's Summit in Chicago, Illinois. In his speech, Sanders discussed of a plan that "can enhance and expand issue campaigns and hold all elected officials accountable to popular demands for justice, equality, and freedom". During his speech, he repeatedly criticized the Democratic Party, calling it an "absolute failure" and blaming it for the election of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
I’m often asked by the media and others: How did it come about that Donald Trump, the most unpopular presidential candidate in the modern history of our country, won the election? And my answer is—and my answer is that Trump didn’t win the election; the Democratic Party lost the election. Let us—let us be very, very clear: The current model—the current model and the current strategy of the Democratic Party is an absolute failure. This is not—this is not my opinion. This is the facts. You know, we focus a lot on the presidential election, but we also have to understand that Democrats have lost the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate. Republicans now control almost two-thirds of the governors’ chairs throughout the country. And over the last nine years, Democrats have lost almost 1,000 legislative seats in states all across this country. Today—today, in almost half of the states in America, Democratic Party has almost no political presence at all. Now, if that’s not a failure, if that’s not a failed model, I don’t know what a failed model is.
On June 12, 2017, United States senators reached an agreement on legislation to add new sanctions on Russia. The bill was opposed only by Sanders and Republican Rand Paul. On June 14, 2017, James T. Hodgkinson, a supporter of Sanders during his presidential campaign, shot and injured four people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Hours later, Sanders responded on Capitol Hill to news that Hodgkinson was a campaign volunteer for his 2016 presidential run:
I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be, violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs counter to our most deeply held American values.
In September 2017, Sanders introduced the United States National Health Care Act which would create a single-payer health care system paid by the United States Government. The plan, also known as "Medicare For All", was supported by former President Barack Obama in September 2018.
On October 12, 2017, Sanders was announced as a key speaker for a women's rights convention in Detroit, Michigan. However a week later, Sanders cancelled his appearance at the convention so that he could travel to Puerto Rico and help rescue efforts from the damage of Hurricane Maria.
In November 2017, after the Paradise Papers were leaked, Sanders warned of "an international oligarchy" and blamed corrupt billionaires and companies for trying to avoid paying taxes and called it unfair.
On January 1, 2018, Sanders sworn-in Bill de Blasio in his second mayoral inauguration as Mayor of New York City. On January 20, 2018, Sanders voted against a congress budget bill which led to the 2018 federal government shutdow, which lasted two days, ending on January 22. On his vote, Sanders said on Twitter:
Republicans control the House, Senate and White House. They have to pass an annual budget, not more one-month continuing resolutions. We need a bipartisan solution to the economic crises facing the middle class, to the DACA crisis that Trump created and to disaster relief.
Sanders gave an online reply to Trump's January 2018 State of the Union address in which he called Trump "dishonest" and criticized him for creating "a looming immigration crisis" by ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
In March 2018, many students walked-out of their schools as a result of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida demanding for gun-control and safety in schools. Sanders joined the protest outside of the United States Capitol and praised the protesters for "leading the [United States] in the right direction" while criticizing the National Rifle Association.
Sanders was named as part of the "Hell-No Caucus" by Politico in April 2018, along with Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris, all of whom voted to reject Trump's nominees for administration jobs, including Jeff Sessions, Kirstjen Nielsen, Rex Tillerson, Betsy DeVos, and Mike Pompeo.
On May 9, 2018, Sanders proposed the Workplace Democracy Act, a bill that would grow labor rights by making it easier for workers to join a union and make it harder to break-up unions. It was supported by several Democratic senators, including Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tammy Baldwin and Sherrod Brown.
On August 14, 2018, Sanders won the Democratic nomination for Senator with 94% of the primary vote. However, before the primaries, Sanders said he would not accept the Democratic nomination and run as an Independent.
In August 2018, Sanders criticized the wealth of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and how Amazon employees were paid less than the minimum wage and lived under poor conditions while Bezos increased his fortune. In September 2018, Sanders introduced the "Stop BEZOS" bill which would focus on increase work wages for Amazon and Walmart employers and heavily tax Bezos and other higher company officials. In October 2018, Bezos announced that the company would pay all employees in the United States minimum wage with many believing Sanders is the reason why.
In October 2018, Sanders introduced a bill to break up big banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America. The bill would allow the federal government to dismantle banks that has a worth of 3% of the American GDP, which is roughly equal to USD $584 billion.
In November 2018, Sanders was re-elected to the Senate winning nearly 68% of the vote.
In September 2018, The Guardian published two op-ed pieces talking about the need of a progressive cooperation to challenge the rising threat of globalism and authoritarianism, one of which Sanders wrote and another by European progressive Yanis Varoufakis. In late October, Varoufakis announced the upcoming launch of Progressives International on November 30 in Vermont alongside Sanders. Former 2018 Brazilian presidential candidate Fernando Haddad joined the movement.
In December 2018, Sanders supported a bill with Senators Chris Murphy and Mike Lee to use the 1973 War Powers Resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. At first, the Senate did not supported it, but after the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 the bill had bipartisan co-sponsors and the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 56–41 on December 13.
In March 2019, Sanders, along with seven other members of Congress such as Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, signed a pledge written by veterans and their families to bring a "responsible" end to U.S. military interventions around the globe.
In December 2020, Sanders alongside Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, pushed for a USD $1,200 check for every unemployed American who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
When Democrats gained control of the Senate in the 2020 elections, Sanders became Chair of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee on January 20, 2021. He said he would make a COVID-19 relief bill with a $2,000 stimulus checks and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour his main goal.
On February 23, 2021, Sanders became the first senator in the Democratic caucus to not support one of Biden's cabinet picks when he voted against Tom Vilsack's nomination as Agriculture Secretary.
Sanders is said to have an influence on the Joe Biden administration. When mentioned that he had become an important voice in Biden's administration, he replied, "As somebody who wrote a book called Outsider in the House, yes, it is a strange experience to be having that kind of influence that we have now". Their relationship has lasted over 30 years and Sanders has said it is because they both respect and trust each other: "We have had a good relationship. He wants to be a champion of working families, and I admire that and respect that".
In January 2023, Sanders became Chair of the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
In August 2011, Public Policy Polling found that 67% of American people supported Sanders. That made him the third most popular senator in the country. In a poll by Fox News in March 2017, found Sanders to be the most popular senator or political figure in the United States with the approval rating of 61%.
A Harvard-Harris Poll published every April found Sanders to be the most popular active politician in the country. The same poll, finds Sanders to be the most popular senator in the country.
- Committee on the Budget (Chairman)
- Committee on Environment and Public Works
- Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
- Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
- Committee on Veterans' Affairs (former Chair)
2016 presidential campaignEdit
On April 28, 2015, Vermont Public Radio said that Sanders would run for president starting on April 30. They reported that he would run for the Democratic presidential nomination against the front-runner Hillary Clinton, who was leading in the poll numbers. His campaign manager is Jeff Weaver. Weaver was also Sanders's senate campaign manager and was his chief of staff. The official announcement came on May 26 in Burlington, Vermont. His campaign was supported by Democratic Socialists of America.
Sanders' campaign events have brought many people from around the country. Sanders said he was "Stunned. Stunned. I mean I had to fight my way to get into the room. Standing room only. Minneapolis was literally beyond belief."
Months after his campaign started, poll numbers showed Clinton was the most likely to win the Democratic nomination. However, on June 25, 2015, The New York Times said that Sanders might win the primaries instead of Clinton. On August 12, 2015, the Boston Herald said that Sanders was winning by 44% to Clinton's 37% in New Hampshire among Democratic primary voters. A poll released on August 25, 2015, showed that Sanders was once again winning in New Hampshire with 42% to Clinton's 35%.
During his campaign, Sanders was known for his popularity among millennials and young voters. In the 2016 campaign, Sanders won more votes among those under age 30 than both Trump and Clinton combined. It shows more than 2 million young people cast ballots for Sanders before the primaries in June. His popularity led to the creation a Facebook political meme page Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash which has gained popularity among his supporters and the internet.
A poll released in September 2015 showed that Sanders was leading Clinton in Iowa with 41% to Clinton's 40%. In October 2015, polling showed Sanders and Clinton were tied in polls in both New Hampshire and Iowa. In November 2015, a poll showed Sanders was increasing his numbers in New Hampshire, almost tied with Clinton. On November 19, 2015, Sanders gave a speech at Georgetown University about his views on democratic socialism. In his speech, Sanders talked about how the policies of presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson were based on democratic socialism.
On December 3, 2015, a Quinnipiac University poll found Sanders to be the Democratic candidate more likely to win the presidential election against top Republican candidates such as Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson. On December 4, 2015, after online voting ended, votes showed that Sanders was in first place to become Time's 2015 Person of the Year. He had 10.4% of votes compared to second place holder Malala Yousafzai's 5.3%. On December 7, Time announced that Sanders won the reader's poll of the magazine, but he would not be person of the year. On December 9, poll numbers showed that Sanders was leading Clinton in the New Hampshire polls by 50% to 40%. The university also showed Clinton was winning with 61% to Sanders's 30% of the national poll.
In January 2016, in weeks leading to the Democratic primaries, Sanders was leading New Hampshire by 50% to Clinton's 46% and in Iowa with 49% to 43%. On January 21, 2016, Sanders' campaign advertisement, America, was shown in Iowa and New Hampshire. Many people liked the ad and the New York Times said it was "powerful" and "inspiring".
In early February 2016, a national poll showed Sanders and Clinton almost tied with Clinton's 44% to Sanders' 42% in the national poll. A few weeks later, Quinnipiac University, CNN and Fox News poll numbers showed Sanders being the front-runner with 47% to Clinton's 44% of the national poll. After the Nevada caucus, new poll numbers showed Sanders's national lead growing with 42% to Clinton's 36%. A February 2016 Quinnipiac University poll found that Sanders was the most honest candidate in the election.
On March 8, 2016, Sanders won the Michigan Democratic primary. Political experts and news networks called it an upset victory. Polls showed Clinton winning by many numbers. On March 11, 2016, a mass protest over a planned Trump rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago caused hundreds to clash and four people were injured. In the aftermath, Trump accused of Sanders and his supporters of creating the protest to purposely cancel the Trump rally. Sanders later called out Trump as a "pathological liar" who leads a "vicious movement", and said that "while I appreciate that we had supporters at Trump's rally in Chicago, our campaign did not organize the protests".
In early April 2016, national poll numbers showed Sanders winning by 49% to Clinton's 47%. On April 8, Sanders was asked by Vatican City to talk about the issues of income inequality and the environment. Sanders agreed to the invitation and spoke at the Vatican on April 15. While on his trip, he met with Pope Francis in private. In April 2016, Sanders was added into Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2016. His introduction was written by former United States Secretary of Labor and supporter Robert Reich.
In May 2016, national poll numbers showed Sanders loosing to Clinton with 45% to Clinton's 50% with 5% people undecided. On May 3, 2016, Sanders pulled another political upset after beating Clinton in the Indiana primaries by six percent. Earlier poll numbers showed Clinton winning in Indiana. On May 10, 2016, Sanders won the West Virginia primaries by 51.4% to Clinton's 35.8%. In 2008, Clinton had won that election by 66.93% to her primary challenger Barack Obama's 25.17%.
A NBC/Wall Street Journal poll in May found Clinton and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in a tie, but the same poll found that if Sanders were the Democratic nominee, 53% of voters would support him to 39% for Trump. Clinton and Trump were the least popular likely candidates in the poll's history, while Sanders received a 43% positive with a 36% negative rating.
On June 6, 2016, Clinton reached the number of delegates to become the presumptive Democratic Party nominee. Sanders said he will still remain in the race until the Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in July 2016. On July 12, 2016, Sanders announced his support for Clinton at a unity rally in New Hampshire.
On July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks revealed that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other DNC official, mocked and planned to sabotage the Sanders's campaign in favor of Clinton. Sanders said he wanted Schultz to resign. The next day, Schultz announced that she will resign after the Democraitc convention on July 28, 2016.
Sanders spoke on the first night of the Democratic Convention on July 25, 2016. In his speech, Sanders told his supporters that he thanked them and to vote for Clinton to defeat Donald Trump in the general election. On July 26, 2016, during a roll-call vote at the 2016 Democratic National Convention Sanders lost the nomination to Clinton.
Primaries and caucusesEdit
On February 1, 2016, Sanders lost the Iowa caucus to Clinton by less than 1%. On February 9, Sanders won the New Hampshire caucus by 22%. His victory was one of the largest in years. Sanders became the first democratic socialist and the first non-Christian to win a United States presidential primary for a major party. On February 20, 2016, Sanders lost the Nevada caucus by 5%. On February 27, 2016, Sanders lost the South Carolina primary by almost 48%.
On March 1, 2016, "Super Tuesday", Sanders won four states: Vermont, Oklahoma, Colorado and Minnesota. He lost Massachusetts by less than 1%. He lost Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia during the event. On March 5, 2016, "Super Saturday", Sanders won two states: Kansas by 35% and Nebraska by almost 15%. He lost the Louisiana primary by about 48% during the event. On March 6, 2016, Sanders won the Maine caucuses by almost 65%. On March 8, 2016, Sanders lost the Mississippi primaries by 65%. On the same day, Sanders won the Michigan primaries by 2%. On March 12, 2016, Sanders lost the Northern Mariana Islands caucus by 20%. On March 15, 2016, Sanders lost the Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri primaries.
On March 21, 2016, Sanders won the Democrats Abroad primary with 69% to Clinton's 31%. He won 52 out of the 55 international countries of the primaries. He lost Nigeria, Singapore and the Dominican Republic. On March 23, 2016, Sanders won the Idaho primaries and the Utah caucus. He won by more than 50% in each contest compared to Clinton. On the same day, he lost the Arizona primaries by more than 30%. On March 26, 2016, Sanders won the Washington, Alaska and the Hawaii caucuses all by landslide victories.
On April 5, 2016, Sanders won the Wisconsin primaries with 57% to Clinton's 43% of the vote. On April 9, 2016, Sanders won the Wyoming caucuses with 56% to Clinton's 44%. On April 19, 2016, Sanders lost the New York primaries with 42% to Clinton's 58%. On April 26, 2016, Sanders lost the Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut primaries. On the same day, he won the Rhode Island primaries.
On May 3, 2016, Sanders won the Indiana primaries with 53% to Clinton's 47% of the vote. On May 7, 2016, he lost the Guam caucuses with 40% to Clinton's 60% of the vote. On May 10, 2016, Sanders won the West Virginia primaries with 51% to Clinton's 36% of the vote. On May 17, 2016, Sanders lost the Kentucky primaries by less than 1%. On the same day, he won the Oregon primaries with 55% of the vote to Clinton's 46%.
On June 4, 2016, Sanders lost the U.S. Virgin Islands caucus in a landslide. On June 5, 2016, Sanders lost the Puerto Rico primaries. On June 7, 2016, Sanders lost the primaries in New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, and California. He won the North Dakota and Montana primaries that day. On June 14, 2016, Sanders lost the Washington, D.C. primaries, the last primary of the election season, with 20% to Clinton's 80%.
"Our Revolution" organizationEdit
In August 2016, Sanders founded Our Revolution. It is an organization dedicated to educating voters about political issues, getting people involved in the political process, and recruiting and supporting candidates for local, state, and national office. Sanders also plans to establish The Sanders Institute, which will focus on issues he believes the "corporate media" has failed to focus on. The agenda will include "the disappearing middle class, 'massive' income inequality, horrific levels of poverty and problems affecting seniors and children."
2016 general election resultsEdit
On November 9, 2016, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States defeating Hillary Clinton. On December 19, 2016 during the voting of the electoral college, Sanders got three electoral votes from electors who did not want to vote for Clinton. They were from Hawaii, Minnesota, and Maine. Only the Hawaii elector's vote was counted. The Minnesota and Maine electoral votes were rejected and later went to Clinton.
Noam Chomsky said in a May 2017 BBC interview that the Sanders campaign was the most remarkable thing about the 2016 election because of Sanders not accepting money from business people or corporations.
Effect of the Sanders campaign on the Democratic partyEdit
Many political experts say that Sanders' campaign made both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic party more progressive. After ending his presidential campaign, Sanders' ideas of national single-payer health-care program, his $15-an-hour minimum wage support, free college tuition and many of the other campaign platform issues have been becoming more popular. Some former staffers created the political action committee Brand New Congress which aimed at looking for younger people to run for office.
In the 2018 midterms, Sanders supported many progressive candidates. A few of the people he endorsed ended up winning their primaries. For example, in an upset that surprised many people, including the candidate herself, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat the incumbent Joseph Crowley for United States Representative in New York City. Benjamin Jealous became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Maryland. Ironworker Randy Bryce and former Chicago mayoral candidate Chuy García ran for United States Representative in Wisconsin and Illinois respectively, and Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum won the Democratic party's nomination for Governor of Florida. Despite winning their primaries, only Ocasio-Cortez and García won their respective general elections.
2020 presidential campaignEdit
Sanders had been asked many times if he would run for president again in the 2020 presidential election. Sanders would respond by stating "it is much too early to talk about that", but refused to rule out a possible second presidential campaign.
After a poll was made in February 2017, 20% of Democratic voters wanted Sanders to be the party's nominee in the 2020 presidential election, leading Hillary Clinton at 17% and Elizabeth Warren at 15%. In March 2017, at 14%, Sanders was the Democratic voters front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 2020, beating Michelle Obama at 11%. In September 2017, at a polling of 28%, Sanders remained the lead candidate for the Democratic Party nominee in the 2020 election beating Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator from California Kamala Harris. In most of the 2018 polls, Sanders leading the nomination in second place, behind former Vice President Biden. During the 2019 debate season, Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Biden are seen as the top candidates in the primaries.
His second campaign has been supported by Senator Patrick Leahy, Representatives Ro Khanna, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Mark Pocan, Pramila Jayapal, Mark Takano, Chuy García, and Peter Welch, former Senators Mike Gravel and Donald Riegle, former Representative and DNC Vice Chair Keith Ellison, former Representatives Luis Gutiérrez and Alan Grayson, New York City Mayor and former 2020 presidential candidate Bill de Blasio, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, former San Francisco councilwoman Jane Kim, former Bolivian President Evo Morales, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, U.K. MPs Diane Abbott, Rebecca Long-Bailey and John McDonnell, German politician Bernd Riexinger, whistleblower Edward Snowden, political activists Cornel West and Jesse Jackson, directors Jim Jarmusch Adam McKay, and Werner Herzog, actors James Cromwell, Jack Nicholson, David Cross, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Mark Ruffalo, Jane Fonda, and Susan Sarandon, radio personality Howard Stern, rap artists Cardi B and Killer Mike, singers Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus, model Emily Ratajkowski, and by the political groups Democratic Socialists of America, and Our Revolution.
In January 2018, Sanders created a team of political experts to see if it would be a good idea to run again in the 2020 presidential election. In May 2018, former campaign manager Jeff Weaver said Sanders is "actively considering" a second presidential bid. In August 2018, Sanders announced on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that he is not ruling out another run for the presidency in 2020.
In January 2019, it was reported that it is certain Sanders would enter the 2020 primary race following his lead in the contested race and an announcement would be immediate. On February 15, 2019, it was reported that Sanders recorded his presidential announcement video for a 2020 bid. He announced his second presidential bid on February 19, 2019.
Pre-primary campaign trailEdit
On March 2, 2019, Sanders held his first presidential rally in Brooklyn College in New York City. The next day, Sanders held a second rally at Navy Pier in Chicago. About 13,000 people went to the Brooklyn rally and 12,500 went to the Chicago rally.
On March 5, 2019, Sanders signed a formal statement, called a "loyalty pledge", saying that he is a member of the Democratic Party and will serve as a Democrat if elected. The day before, he had signed paperwork to run as an independent for re-election to his Senate seat in 2024. Later that month, national polling had Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden tied for the Democratic primaries.
In January 2020, national polling showed Sanders in second place with 16% behind Biden's 28%, a three point gain for Sanders since last polling.
Debates and forumsEdit
On April 6, 2019, Sanders was part of a Fox News town hall that had more than 2.55 million viewers. Sanders's appearance on Fox News saw an increase of Fox News viewers by 24% overall and 40% in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic.
During the first four Democratic primary debates, Sanders appeared near the center stage, as one of the highest polling candidates. During the July and September debates, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were described by commentators as having a "non-aggression pact", talking about progressive positions which were different than positions from the other candidates.
Within three-and-a-half hours after his announcement, Sanders had raised over $1 million from small donations from all 50 states, breaking the record held by Senator Kamala Harris after her presidential announcement. Within 12 hours, Sanders had raised over $4 million from 150,000 donors, and in the first 24 hours following his announcement, Sanders raised $5.9 million from 225,000 small donations, with the average donation being $27. In November 2019, Sanders said his campaign had over four million donations from individual donors, the largest than any other presidential candidate in American history.
In January 2020, Sanders raised over $34.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2019, the largest of any 2020 Democratic presidential campaign.
In April 2019, a national poll had Sanders leading Biden 29% to 24% among Democratic voters for the primaries.
Sanders polled between 15-20% on most national surveys between May and September of 2019. In September 2019, Warren and Sanders remained in a virtual tie for second place. Some surveys showed Warren ahead of Sanders, while others showed Sanders ahead of Warren.
National surveys of a potential general election matchup with Donald Trump showed Sanders leading by an average of 6.5% as of September of 2019, compared to a 11.7% lead for Biden and a 5% lead for Warren. The average of polls in New Hampshire in August and September of 2019 showed a virtual tie between Sanders, Warren, and Biden. After constantly being behind Warren and Biden in the polls, in November 2019 Sanders saw a rise in polls beating Warren for the second place spot behind Biden.
In January 2020, an Iowa poll found Sanders tied for first place behind Biden and Pete Buttigieg with 23%. The same poll found Sanders in first place in New Hampshire with 27% and Biden in second with 25%. A few weeks later, Sanders was leading in a nationwide poll with 27% against Biden's 24%.
On February 10, 2020 following the Iowa caucuses, a national poll had Sanders leading the race with 25% while Biden fell to 17%. A few weeks later on February 27, a new Fox News national poll showed Sanders at 31% with Biden at 18%. After Super Tuesday in March, Biden began to expand his lead over Sanders.
Primaries and caucusesEdit
On February 3, 2020, the Iowa caucuses were held, however, due to an issue with apps used to count the votes and spread the delegate votes, the results were announced the following day. The next day, 71% of the votes were released showing Pete Buttigieg leading Sanders by less than 2%. On February 10, Sanders and Buttigieg asked for a recount. The overall results, Sanders won the popular vote winning 45,842 (26.5%) while Buttigieg won 26.2% of the state delegates equivalents to Sanders' 26.1%. On February 27, Buttigieg was declared the winner of the Iowa caucus despite Sanders winning the popular vote.
On February 11, 2020, Sanders won the New Hampshire primary winning almost 26% of the vote compared to Buttigieg's 24%. On February 23, Sanders won the Nevada caucus in a landslide victory winning 40% of the popular vote and 47% of the county convention delegates. Following the race, Sanders became the Democratic front-runner leading with 34 delegates and nearly 26% of the popular vote. He also became the first presidential candidate, Democrat or Republican, to win the popular vote in the first three primary states in a row. In February 29, Sanders lost the South Carolina primary winning nearly 20% of the vote to Biden's 48%.
During Super Tuesday on March 3, 2020, Sanders won the California, Utah, Colorado and Vermont contests. He lost American Samoa to Michael Bloomberg and Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia to Joe Biden. On March 11, Sanders won the North Dakota caucus, but lost the Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Washington, and Idaho primaries to Biden. On March 14, Sanders won the Northern Mariana Islands caucus. On March 18, Sanders lost the Arizona, Illinois and Florida primaries. On March 23, Sanders won the Democrats Abroad primary winning 58% of the vote compared to Biden's 23%.
Ending the campaignEdit
On April 8, 2020 one day after the Wisconsin primary, Sanders ended his campaign. He had not beaten Biden in many primary contests after Super Tuesday. Sanders said that he would stay on the ballot in the remaining states and continue to keep delegates because he wanted to add progressive ideas to the Democratic Party and to Biden's campaign. On April 13, Sanders said voters should vote for Biden for President.
After Biden won the election, may have joined the cabinet as United States Secretary of Labor in the Biden administration. Sanders said that he would accept the position if Biden offered it to him. He asked Senate allies and labor unions to support him as a possible Labor secretary. In January 2021, Biden picked Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, to be Labor Secretary. Biden said he thought about picking Sanders but did not want to risk the Democratic majority in the next Senate.
Sanders married Deborah Shiling in 1964. The couple divorced two years later in 1966. He met his second wife, Jane O'Meara, when Sanders became mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981. They were married in 1988. Sanders has a son, Levi Sanders, who was born out of wedlock with his domestic partner Susan Campbell Mott. Sanders and Mott were partners only one year before splitting in 1969. Sanders has three step-children from O'Meara: Dave, Carina and Heather Driscoll. He thinks of them as his own children. His brother, Larry, was a Green Party County Councillor representing East Oxford in England until his retirement in 2013.
Sanders says he is "proud to be Jewish" but is not very religious. He likes Pope Francis. Sanders says he feels "very close to the teachings of Pope Francis,". He calls the pope "incredibly smart and brave".
In 2016 and 2017, Sanders had earnings of just over $1 million, mostly royalties for his published books. He and his wife own two houses in Capitol Hill and in Burlington, and a lakefront summer home in North Hero.
Sanders had a small role in the 1988 movie Sweet Hearts Dance. He played a man who gave candy to kids. In 1999, he had another small role in the low-budget movie My X-Girlfriend's Wedding Reception. He played the role of Rabbi Many Shevitz. On February 6, 2016, Sanders was a guest-star on Saturday Night Live. He played a Polish immigrant on a steamboat that was sinking near the Statue of Liberty.
In 1987, when Sanders was mayor, he recorded an album called We Shall Overcome. In 1997, Huck Gutman and Sanders wrote a political memoir called Outsider in the White House. It was published again in 2015 during Sanders' presidential campaign.
Sanders wrote a memoir titled, Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, which was released on November 15, 2016. In November 2017, Sanders and Mark Ruffalo were nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for their narration of the memoir.
In August 2017, Sanders published another political book titled Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution which is aimed to help teenagers to get involve in the political scene. In November 2018, he published another book titled Where We Go From Here, talking about how the aftermath of his 2016 campaign created a progressive movement and what Americans need to do to stand against the Trump presidency.
Sanders had chest pains at a campaign event in Las Vegas on October 1, 2019 and was soon hospitalized. He had surgery because his arteries were blocked. He had two stents planted and recovered from the surgery. Sanders left the hospital on October 4 and his doctors said that Sanders actually had a heart attack.
A few days after returning home, Sanders said that he had been having fatigue and chest discomfort for a month or two before the incident and regretted not going to the hospital beforehand. Sanders participated in the October 15 Democratic debate in Ohio on CNN.
Bank Fraud investigationEdit
In June 2017, the FBI launched an investigation into Sander's wife Jane's involvement in a bank loan for Burlington College of which she was president. This was after Brady Toensing, Donald Trump's campaign chairman in Vermont, accused Sanders of bank fraud. Both CBS and Politico reported that Bernie Sanders was also under investigation, however that was not true. Both Sanders and his wife have hired well known defense lawyers to represent them.
Sanders and his two presidential campaigns have become popular on the internet and have been made into Internet memes. During the 2020 primary season, a screenshot from a fundraising video where Sanders tells the viewers "I am once again asking for your financial support" became a popular meme. In March 2020, a video of the Twitch streamer Neekolul wearing a Bernie 2020 shirt lip singing "Oki Doki Boomer" also went viral. In 2021, a picture of Sanders from the inauguration of Joe Biden showing him sitting in a chair wearing mittens and a jacket from the "I am once again asking" meme went viral.
Sanders is a democratic socialist. He supports the Nordic model of social democracy. He thinks a workplace democracy is a good idea. He focuses on income, banning assault weapons, raising taxes on the wealthy, raising the minimum wage, federal background checks for guns, universal healthcare, lowering student debt, making tuition free at public colleges and universities, and expanding Social Security benefits.
Sanders is a supporter of paternity leave, sick leave, and vacation time. He also supports rules that would make it easier for workers to join or form a union. Sanders knows that global warming is real and he wants to fix it. He is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Sanders was against the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He thinks that the government should not engage in mass surveillance of American citizens. He has been against Patriot Act since it was created.
Sanders is more liberal on social issues such as supporting same-sex marriage, DACA, citizenship for illegal immigrants and abortion. On November 15, 2015, in response to ISIS' attacks in Paris, Sanders said: "We [have got to] be tough, not stupid," in the war against ISIS. He said that the United States should still welcome Syrian refugees.
After Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential elections, Sanders said that the Democratic Party needs a "series of reforms" and "must break loose from its corporate establishment ties and, once again, become a grass-roots party of working people, the elderly and the poor."
In June 2019, Sanders called on Brazilian authorities to release former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from prison and drop all charges against him after leaked documents showed his arrest was politically motivated.
On July 9, 2019, Sanders and Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Earl Blumenauer proposed legislation that would declare climate change a national and international emergency. In September 2019, Sanders said that family planning and controlling overpopulation in third world countries can help fight climate change.
- Congressional affiliation
- Caucus member 1995–present
- Affiliated non-member
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Vote Number 266
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