Who is Bernie Sanders? He is an American political figure who was born in 8th September 1941. He has been serving as US junior senator since 2007 from Vermont. Moreover, among the independent politician in United States history of congress, he is the longest-serving. Additionally, he is a democratic caucus member.
How did he become famous? His popularity international was as a result of 2016 U.S. campaign against Hillary Clinton for the presidential election. Despite falling in the third place in the campaign result for presidential seat, Bernie Sanders has still managed to remain in the headlines. Whether it’s supporting the Democratic Party or in twitter disapproving CEOs.
Also, with his 2020 bid for the presidency, he is managing to remain in the public eye through funding from various small donors and his supporters base. And as per the look of things, he has no plan of leaving the public eye anytime soon.
He is a progressive democratic socialist who is self-described, and very popular for economic inequality opposition. When it comes to domestic policy, he is in the frontline supporting labor rights. Additionally, he also supports single prayer and universal healthcare, free tuition fee for tertiary education and parental leave pay.
On the other end, he supports a reduction in military spending on foreign policies, gaining more of diplomatic ground and international cooperation. Also, he puts a greater highlight on the labor rights and concerns on the environment when negotiating agreements on international trade.
Sander studied in Brooklyn College and later in 1964, he graduated from University of Chicago. While a student he was an active organizer of peaceful protests during the movement of civil rights. At that time he was an active member of Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Congress of Racial Equality of the students.
He began his political carriers after setting in Vermont (1968). At this time, during the early and mid-1970s, Sander ran for political campaigns in the third-party which were all unsuccessful. However, in 1981we won the Burlington mayor seat by a 10 vote margin as an independent. He was then reelected consecutively three times in the same seat.
Later in 1990, he emerged a winner in the election of House of Representatives. He was representing the congressional city of Vermont. Later on, he was a co-founder of Congressional Progressive Caucus. He maintained the House of Representatives seat for 16 years, after which he got elected as a U.S. senator in 2006. In 2012 and 2018, he got reelected as a senator.
Sander made public his bid for the incoming 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee campaign on 2015 April. He was aiming to run for U.S. president seat through the Democratic Party. Despite having low expectations he emerged with promising result even if he never won. He secured 23 primaries and caucuses and also won 43% of delegates who pledged, compared to 55% of Hillary Clintons. The key points of his campaign were due to supporters’ base and rejection of private sector large donations. This includes donations from financial industries, Corporations, and any Super PAC associates. During the 2016 July U.S. presidential election, he gave Clinton full support in her general election campaign for the presidential seat. In 2019 February, he declared a second campaign for the presidential seat, while joining the rest of the candidates pursuing Democratic Party presidential candidate nominee.
Bernie Sanders Early Life
On September 8th, 1941, Sander was born in Brooklyn New York City. Elias Yehuda Sanders, his father (1904-1962) was born from a Jewish family in Slopnice, Galicia which is in Poland and was then known as Austria- Hungary. In 1921, his father migrated to U.S. where he became a salesman of paint. On the other hand, Bernie Sanders mother, Dorothy sanders (1912-1960) was born from Jewish parents in New York City who were immigrants from Poland and Russia.
At an early age, Sanders became interested in politics. He got motivation from the millions of lives which were lost in World War II, as a result of just a single person (Adolf Hitler) who won a political seat. And among those who died were 6 million Jews. From that knowledge, he learned that politics is very important. During the 1940s Holocaust, many of his German-occupied Poland relatives were murdered.
During his younger age, he lived in Midwood Brooklyn, where he was enrolled in elementary school at P.S. 197 Brooklyn. During the school basketball championship, he won a borough. In the afternoon, he attended Hebrew schools, with his celebration of “bar mitzvah” in 1954.
According to Larry, Sanders older brother, their family was able to afford clothing and food and it’s only the major purchases that were unaffordable. This included things like rug or curtains.
In high school, Sanders attended James Madison, which is also in Brooklyn. This time, he was the school track team captain. And during the indoor one-mile race of New York City, he secured the third place. In the first election he took part in high school for the presidency seat in student body, he was the last among the three candidates. After a short while from his graduation in high school, his mother passed away at 46 years of age. A few years later, his father passed away in 1962 at 57 years of age.
He later enrolled in Brooklyn College where he studied for a year (1959-1960) before his transfer to the University of Chicago from where he graduated in 1964 with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in political science. His description of himself is a “mediocre college student”, this is because of his education, the community was more important while the classroom was “irrelevant” and “boring”.
Bernie Sanders Career
While in Chicago he became a member of Young People Socialist League. The group was an affiliate of Socialist Party of America. He was also active as a student in organizing peaceful protests during the movement of civil rights. At that time he was an active member of Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Congress of Racial Equality of the students.
During his time in the university as the chairman of the student council, CORE merged with SNCC. In 1962 January, he organized a rally at the university in protest segregation of housing policy by then-president George Wells Beadle. The protest was held at the administration building of Chicago University. Sander said that “We feel it is an intolerable situation when Negro and white students of the university cannot live together in university-owned apartments,” after which he entered the building along other students whom they camped together outside the office of the president. After several weeks of camping, the University and Beadle created a commission to investigate the matter. And after more protests the racial segregations by the officials in university private housing was cut short by the University of Chicago in 1963 during the summer. In 2016 on an interview, a former CORE chapter member in University of Chicago who also among the camping participants outside the president office described Sanders as “a swell guy, a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn, but he wasn’t terribly charismatic. One of his strengths, though, was his ability to work with a wide group of people, even those he didn’t agree with”. At one time, Sanders was spending his day posting fliers in protest against the brutality by the police., only to realize that the posters were being taken down by a police car following silently behind him.
During the March on Washington in 1963 for jobs and freedom, Sanders attended. It was at that moment that Martin Luther King gave the speech “I have a dream”. Also, he was fined $25 that summer during a demonstration for resisting arrest. He was rallying against segregation in the public schools of Chicago, in Englewood.
To add on his activism for civil rights in the 1960s and 70s, he was also an active member of several antiwar and peace movements. While a student, he was an active member of Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and also a member of Student Peace Union. During the Vietnam war, Sanders wrote an application for Conscientious objector condition, which was turned down eventually since he was too old at that time for it to be drafted. Despite his criticism on war, he was never against those who went to fight and he strongly had support on the benefits of Vietnam War. He was briefly an organizer of Americas United Packinghouse Workers while in Chicago. During the campaigns of reelecting Leon Despres, Sanders took part. Leon Despres was a prominent alderman in Chicago who was opposing Mayor Richard J. Daley’s of Democratic Party Machine.
While a student at the University of Chicago, he read kinds of literature on various European and American political authors. Some of them include Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, John Dewey, and Erich Fromn.
After completion of his studies from the University, sanders went back to New York City, where he did various jobs, among them as a Head start teacher, Carpenter, and Psychiatric aide. Due to captivation by the life in the rural, he moved back to Vermont and in his arrival, he worked there as a Filmmaker, carpenter and a freelance writer. As a filmmaker, he created “radical film strips” which he sold. This included educational materials for schools. As a freelance writer, he wrote alternative publication articles “The Vermont Freeman”
The beginning of his political career
Member of Liberty Union Party
Sanders political carrier began in 1971. He began as Liberty Union Member, which was originally from people’s party and the antiwar movement. Using the liberty ticket, he pursued the Vermont governor’s seat in 1972 and 1976. In 1972 and 1974 he pursued the senator seat using the same party and he emerged third with 4% vote, while on the second position was Patrick Leahy (a 33 year old state’s attorney of Chittenden County) with 49% vote and in the first position, Dick Mallary (an incumbent two-term US representative) with 46% of the votes. The 1976 election was the peak point of Liberty Union influence. Sanders emerged with 11,000 votes both for party and governor. This campaign drained Liberty Union energy and Finances. After the 1976 election campaign, Sander and Nancy Kaufman declared their retirement. This was less than a year later on 1977 October. After the party resignation in 1977, Sander worked as APHS (American People Historical Society) director and writer. This was a nonprofit group.
Running for Burlington Mayor Seat
After a suggestion by a close friend Richard Sugarman who was also a political confidant and a religion professor at University of Vermont, Sanders, pursued Burlington mayor seat in 1980. He became Vermont mayor from 1981 to 1989.
At 39 years old, he pursued the mayor seat of Burlington City. Sander was up against the Gordon Gordie Paquette the incumbent mayor who had served for five terms. He had build community ties which were extensive and he was very willing to cooperate with leaders of the Republican in the control of commission appointments. After Republican found Paquette unobjectionable, they found no reason place a candidate against him during the 1981 election race. This left sander as the only opponent against him. And to make his situation even better, Greg Guma from Citizen Party left the race to avoid splitting the progressive vote. Joe McGrath and Richard Bove who were independents proved to be non-factors in the race and the battle was left to Sanders and Paquette. Sanders rebuked the incumbent pro-development as a merge of the prominent center of shopping by developer Antonio Pomerleau. On the other hand, Paquette warned of Burlington ruin if they risk electing Sanders. Campaign of sanders was spearheaded by optimistic Volunteer wave and also various endorsements from social welfare agencies, University professors and police union. The final outcome came as a great shock to political establishments in the local. Bernie Sanders won the election by a margin of 10 votes. He was then reelected on the same seat three times. in all the elections defeating the Republican and Democratic candidates. In 1983 he won with 53% votes, and in 1985 he won with 55% votes. During his final run in 1987, he won against Paul Lafayette a candidate who was endorsed by both parties but belong he was democrat. During his run for governor seat in 1986, he was unsuccessful and only managed to secure 14% of the total votes.
After serving his terms as the mayor, Sander did not seek reelection in 1989. Instead, he went and become a lecturer of political sciences at Harvard University (Kennedy School of the government). This was in 1989 and also in 1991 at Hamilton College.
House of Representatives U.S.
Sanders later went for a higher seat, the House of Representatives. He managed to secure in 1991 as an Independent Candidate. His victory was termed as the first election in U.S. House of Representatives where a socialist won. Also he is the first independent candidate after Frazier Reams in 1950 to be elected into congress
After serving up to 2007 in the House of Representatives’, Bernie sought for Senatorial seat. This was after the announcement by Jim Jeffords the serving senator, that he would not seek reelection. The chairman of Democratic Party Campaign Committee, Chuck Schumer, quickly endorsed Sanders for the position. This was a vital move, as it meant no other Democratic Candidate would challenge Sander for the seat, as that would mean no campaign finances. He was also endorsed by Harry Reid, the Minority leader of Nevada, Howard dean, Chairman Democratic National Committee also a former governor of Vermont.
In the election, Sanders won against Rich Tarrant, a businessman, by a margin of 2 to 1. He subsequently won in the 2012 reelection by securing 71% of the total vote and also in the 2018 election by 67% of the casted votes.
Presidential Campaign 2020
Sanders announced his bid on the 2020 Presidential elections on 19th Feb 2019. This was made through Vermont radio. On the very day, he also announced during his interview on CBS This Morning, with John Dickerson. While during the day, he sent emails to his supporters. Due to his refusal of Democratic Party nominations in Vermont for U.S. senator in 2006, 2012 and 2018, this posed a legal challenge to his 2016 announcement of the Presidential candidacy for Democratic Party Presidential nomination. In which he still won the case. But with the 2019 announcement, he took a formal agreement that will put him under the Democratic Party rule.
Bernie Sanders was involved in three relationships, two of which ended in a marriage and the other with a child. The first relationship which was in 1963 was with Deborah Shiling Messing. Sander and Deborah had met earlier while in college. They both volunteered in Kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim of Israel for a couple of months.
They tied notes in 1964, after which they bought a property in Vermont. It was a summer home, and later in two years time (1966), they divorced. But they never had children together. In the second relationship after Deborah, Sanders met with Susan Campbell Mott, a girlfriend, in 1969, Susan gave birth to Levi Sanders, Bernie Sanders firstborn biological and the only child. In the third relationship, Sanders met with Jane O’Meara Driscoll, whom he married in 1988. She later became Burlington College president in Burlington, Vermont.
A day later after the wedding, Sanders and wife paid a visit to the Soviet Union as part of mayor official delegation. Jane had three children, whom sanders considered his own. They include Heather Titus (born 1971), Carina Driscoli (Born 1974) and Dave Driscoli (Born 1975). Additionally, he has grandchildren who are seven.
During his tenure as the Burlington Mayor in Dec 1987, together with 30 Vermont musicians, they recorded an album “We Shall Overcome”. Since he had no singing skills, he used talking blue style during the performance. In 1988, he made an appearance “Sweet Hearts Dance” film which was a comedy-drama. His role was a man distributing candy trick-or-treaters youngster. Later in 19 99 he acted as Rabbi Manny Shevitz in the film “My X-Girlfriends Wedding Reception”. The film highlights sander upbringing while in Brooklyn.
0n 6th Feb 2016, he features as a guest together with Larry David, as they play a polish immigrant on a sinking steamship close to the Statue of Liberty.
Sanders won 2015 Person of the Year polls of readers by securing 10.2% votes, even though he never received the award from the editorial board. in the following year on 20th March 2016, he received an honor through the name dxʷshudičup (Coast Salish name) in Seattle by Deborah Parker. This was to honor Sanders focus on the issues facing Native Americans during the campaign for presidential seat.
Sander received “Doctor of Humane Letters” honoree degree from Brooklyn College on 30th May 2015.
During the 2016 campaigns, a complaint was made by Donald Trump’s campaign chairman of Vermont. As a result, an investigation was carried out by the FBI on Sanders’s wife, regarding her involvement in Burlington College bank loan when she was the president of the institution. According to Washington Post report on 25th June 2015, Sanders was excluded from the FBI investigation. During the investigation, Sanders and wife maintained their prominent counsel. On Nov 2018, Sander’s wife was informed of the ended investigation by Vermont US Attorney and filing of charges would be there.
From sanders report of earnings of 2016 and 2017, was over 1$ million, which was mostly from book publications and royalties. Together with his wife, they own North Nero lakefront summer home, Capitol Hill rowhouse, and New North Neighborhood house in Burlington.
According to Sander’s, he was brought up as an American Jew, this was in 2106 speech. His late father attended only the Synagogue which was on Yom Kippur. Sanders was enrolled in public school. He would also attend Hebrew school and in most cases, their observance in religion was strict to Passover seeders done among their neighbors. Also, according to sanders, his late parents were pleased for being Jews but their belief in God wasn’t that much.
In 1963, sanders and the former wife did a volunteer at Sha’ar HaAmakim during the Hashomer Hatzair Labor Zionist movement of youth in northern Israel. The motivation behind his move of volunteering was both socialistic and Zionist.
Sanders was proud to be Jewish. When asked about his Jewish heritage, he would always say the same thing. And also, his actions were loud enough to prove his stand with the Jewish heritage. When he was Burlington Mayor, he gave a permit for Chabad public menorah to occur at city hall. A decision that was highly contested by ACLU, in public, he did the inauguration of Hanukkah menorah and also performed religious rituals of Jews through Hanukkah candle blessings. Thanks to his strong support of Public menorah celebrations from the beginning, it played a significant role in the widespread of current global celebration.
Despite the strong Jewish heritage, he rarely speaks of religion, according to Sanders; he is not an active member of any religious group but believes in God. From his office press package, it indicates Religion: Jewish. He stated his belief in God but not precisely to traditional manner. He said “I think everyone believes in God in their own ways”, he also said, “To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.”
During the Jimmy Kimmel Live late-night talk show on Oct 2015, Sanders was asked by Kimmel, “You say you are culturally Jewish and you don’t feel religious; do you believe in God and do you think that’s important to the people of the United States?”
“I am who I am, and what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we’re all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people … and this is not Judaism, this is what Pope Francis is talking about, that we can’t just worship billionaires and the making of more and more money. Life is more than that.” Sanders reply to Kimel.
In 2016 Sanders said he has strong feelings in religion and spiritual belief. And he clearly stated that his spirituality is in the belief that we are together as one in every situation. Additionally, he stated that when a child or a person suffers due to sleeping hungry or being homeless, it has a great impact on him.
He is not a regular attendant of the Synagogue, and on Rosh Hashanah day, he goes to work. And this is a day that all Jewish with strong belief do not go to work.
As per Richard Sugarman, a religious studies professor at the University of Vermont, Sanders is more of a cultural and ethnical Jew than religious. And according to a Judaic scholar, Deborah Dash Moore at the University of Michigan, she said that Sanders Jewishness is relatively old fashioned.
His wife is a Roman Catholic and often has Sanders expressed his admiration towards the pope. He feels close to Economic teachings of the pope while describing him as a very smart and brave person.
In Apr 2016, an invitation was sent by an aide close to Pope Francis, Mr. Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, inviting Sanders to speak at a conference of the Vatican’s on matters pertaining economy and environmental concerns. While sanders were at the Vatican, he briefly met with Pope Francis.
At 77 years of age, Sanders has a $2.5m estimate of fortune which he has amassed over the years. His wealth includes real estate, government pensions, investments and book earnings. From the 2016 bid for the Democratic presidential nominee, there has been an incline on his profile. A year later he launched a book. During 2016 to 2017 he gained $1.7 million from the series of books that he launched. Starting with “Our Revolution” which he sold 220, 000 copies as per NDP Book scan industry tracker. Then it was followed by 27,000 copies of “Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution” and lastly 26, 000 copies of “Two Years Resistance”.
Since joining Congress in 1991, Sanders has been receiving an annual six-figure salary. He also has pensions from the government which is on the basis of total income and the number of years he has been working. He has 28 years of service with the government and also has a current salary of $174, 000. Thus from the above, Sanders is entitled to receive around $73, 000 annually for the rest of his life from the federal government. According to Forbes, if Sanders opt to exchange the annual guaranteed income for a pile of cash, he would receive about $650, 000.
Before his election to Congress, he served as Burlington, Vermont mayor for several terms. From his service to Burlington, he will receive a monthly pension of $428 from the city, which is about $50,000 annually. Similar to other Americans much of his worth is invested on home. But uniquely, he owns three homes. In Burlington he owns a $405, 000 home which he bought it in 2009. After the hefty pay from his books sales profits, he cleared his 30 years mortgage. He owns another home in D.C. which is just a short walking distance from the Capitol. He purchased the house for $489, 000 in 2007. As per the Forbes estimate, he owes $350, 000 on mortgage to pay for the house.
His Vermont vacation house, however, was bought in cash. He bought it for $575, 000, making the headlines. This was two months later after the 2016 campaigns. The house is four bedrooms, with three bathrooms and 500 feet of accessible shorefront of Lake Champlain. It is north of Burlington 50 minutes away. According to Sanders wife, they financed the house with the advanced pay of sanders book, some retirement money, and money from the sale of her family cabin. Out of the big investments, sander and wife still have about $500, 000 in cash, investments and three accounts of retirement that belong to Jane Sanders.
Bernie Sanders Quotes
- No anti-choice appointments to Supreme Court. (May 2019
- Right to abortion applies to low-income women as well. (Jun 2019
- Medicare-for-All will protect women’s constitutional right. (Jun 2019
Budget and Economy
- Restructure debt so Puerto Rico can rebuild. (Nov 2018
- US “hottest economy” only applies to the wealthy. (Feb 2019
- $21T increase in wealth to the top 1%. (Jun 2019
- Supports reparations, but targeted to distressed communities. (Mar 2019
- Deal with racial issues as part of health care reform. (Apr 2019
- Supports commission investigating reparations for slavery. (Apr 2019
- Even prisoners should still have the right to vote. (Apr 2019
- Top 1% income inequity makes no sense. (Apr 2019
- Democratic socialism means working for everyone, not just 1%. (Jun 2019
- Nothing will change if we don’t have the guts to fight. (Jun 2019
- OpEd: Ambiguous record on the 1994 crime bill. (Jun 2019
- Eliminate private prisons. (Jul 2019
- Felons should be allowed to vote while incarcerated. (Jul 2019
- Co-sponsored federal legalization of marijuana. (Apr 2019
- Marijuana Justice Act: decriminalize pot & expunge records. (May 2019
- Remove cocaine sentencing disparities. (Jul 2019
- Forgive student loans for both higher ed and trade school. (Jun 2019
- Busing an option, but integrated community schools are best. (Jun 2019
- Universal free meals in schools. (Jul 2019
Energy and Oil
- Keep the U.S. in Paris Climate Agreement & increase targets. (Apr 2019
- Transform our energy system away from fossil fuel. (Feb 2019
- Not enough to beat Trump; must beat the fossil fuel industry. (May 2019
- Climate change will lead to international security crises. (Nov 2015
- Leave a planet to our kids that is healthy & habitable. (Apr 2018
- Opposes new nuclear power plant development. (Apr 2019
Families & Children
- Real family values: time with newborn and sick relatives. (Nov 2016
- Workers need paying family leave and paid sick leave. (Aug 2017
- Trump threw 32M families off healthcare, socialism not issue. (Jun 2019
- Promote democracy, but don’t use the military for regime change. (Feb 2019
- Even-handed Mideast policy; open to moving Jerusalem embassy. (May 2019
- Talk to adversaries but we need more than photo ops. (Jun 2019
- Expand “Buy American” and “Buy Local” as government policy. (Aug 2017
- The real problem with trade is jobs shipped overseas. (Feb 2019
- FactCheck: NAFTA displaced 851,700; but net loss 15,000/year. (Feb 2019
- Mainstream media focuses on gossip, lies, & personality. (Nov 2018
- Rotate judges on Supreme Court, like term limits. (Jun 2019
- Hard to defend the Electoral College. (Jul 2019
- Ban assault weapons; automatic background checks. (Feb 2019
- Buyback assault weapons, and ban their sale. (Jun 2019
- 2013: state decisions on guns; 2019: federal legislation. (Jun 2019
- Pharma companies should justify high drug prices. (Feb 2019
- The 1970s: For socialized medicine, public drug companies owned. (Mar 2019
- Took diabetics to Canada for insulin at 1/10th price. (Jul 2019
- Don’t privatize the Veterans Administration. (Apr 2018
- Undertake a comprehensive audit of Department of Defense. (Apr 2018
- CIA torture policy means US service members get tortured too. (May 2018
Welfare and Poverty
- Puerto Rico nearly bankrupt after the Great Recession. (Oct 2017
- Would sign reparations bill; wants investment in poor areas. (Apr 2019
- 1980s USSR housing worse than U.S.’s, but they pay only 5%. (May 2019
- Fake news comes from multinational media conglomerates. (Feb 2017
- Fix our nation’s infrastructure; don’t privatize it. (Feb 2019
- Break up tech giants like Facebook, Google, & Amazon. (Jul 2019
- Raise income tax & fix estate tax: hardly Marxist ideas. (Feb 2019
- 1974: 100% tax over $1 million. (Mar 2019
- Supports progressive taxation; closing loopholes for wealthy. (Apr 2019
- Lift cap on wealthy: at $250,000 program lasts 58 years. (Feb 2016
- We have to do better on both SSDI and elder poverty. (Nov 2016
- I helped create the Social Security Caucus. (Nov 2016