|United States Senator
January 3, 2007
Serving with Patrick Leahy
|Preceded by||Jim Jeffords|
|Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs|
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 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
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Political party||Liberty Union (Before 1979)
Independent (1979–2015; 2016–present
|Domestic partner||Susan Mott (1969)|
|Relations||Larry Sanders (brother)|
|Alma mater||Brooklyn College
University of Chicago
Presidential campaign website
Bernard "Bernie" Sanders (born September 8, 1941) is an American politician. He is the United States senator from Vermont. Sanders is an Independent, but sides with the Democratic Party. From 2015 through 2016, Sanders was a Democrat. He became senator on January 3, 2007.
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.
Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist. He thinks that a social democratic government for the United States is a good idea. During his time as senator, Sanders has been against income inequality and supports universal health care, parental leave and LGBT rights. He has been against racial inequality and mass surveillance. In January 2015, Sanders became a member of the Senate Budget Committee.
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 Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2016. 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 has 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.
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 led 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 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 (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
Sanders became senator after Jim Jeffords retired from the Senate in 2006. In 2012, he was re-elected with almost 71% of the vote. 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%.
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."
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.
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%.
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.
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.
Presidential 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.
Possible 2020 presidential runEdit
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 refuses 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%.
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. They live in Burlington. His brother, Larry, was a Green Party County Councillor representing East Oxford until his retirement in 2013.
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 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.
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".
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, raising taxes on the wealthy, raising the minimum wage, 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 thinks 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 spy on Americans. He has been against Patriot Act since it was created.
Sanders is more liberal on social issues such as supporting same-sex marriage, 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."
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- Sanders, Bernie. "Press Package". Sanders.Senate.gov. http://www.sanders.senate.gov/download/press-package. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
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- Official U.S. Senate Site
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- Bernie Sanders at the Open Directory Project
- Your online guide to Bernie Sanders. The Washington Post, April 30, 2015