Bernie Sanders has taken the country by storm with his progressive revolution. More and more Americans are starting to “Feel the Bern” every day. So for most Americans who are hearing about him for the first time because of this presidential race, this raises the question: Who is Bernie Sanders?
Bernie Sanders was born in Brooklyn NY in 1941 to an immigrant father from Poland, and an American born mother from New York. He grew up poor, and both his parents died shortly after he graduated high school. After graduation, Bernie attended Brooklyn College for a year before transferring to the University of Chicago where he earned his bachelor of Political Science degree. He soon after became a graduate student at the New School for Social Research. Sanders was a huge activist during the Civil Rights Movement, there are pictures of a young Bernie Sanders being arrested during civil rights sit-ins. Sanders also opposed the Vietnam War however, never held this against the ones who served by being a strong advocates for veterans benefits his entire career. In 1981 Sanders took his first public office as Mayor of Burlington Vermont, which he held until 1989. In 1991, he ran for The United States House of Representatives, and won. In the House, sanders helped pass many bipartisan bills, earning him a reputation as an Independent representative who could work with both sides. During his tenure in the House, he also voted against the Brady Bill; much to the surprise of many of his supporters today. Sanders remained in the House until 2007 when he was voted into the US Senate. While in the Senate, he has served on the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs from 2013-2015. He currently holds his position as Senator.
Sanders is a huge activist for Climate Change, calling it the most important issue America faces today. He is also largely in favor of campaign finance reform. He refuses to take donations from large corporations and relies 99% on small donations from his supporters. When it comes to economics, Sanders describes himself as a Democratic Socialist. He largely stresses the success of the economic policies of the Scandinavian countries, is a believer in distribution of wealth, and supports social programs. He is also largely in favor of free higher education. Sanders typically refers to the greed of the “one percent” as the cause for economic inequality in the United States. When it comes to social issues, Sanders is largely to the left on mostly all of them. He believes in the woman’s right to choose, supports the medical and recreational use of cannabis, and is in favor of all LGBT rights. However, he is not as strict on guns as most Democrats would like. He is a supporter of the 2nd Amendment, with the restrictions of reasonable background checks and the banning of assault weapons.
Is America ready for a Democratic Socialist as President? Many say yes, but others are more hesitant. Despite differing opinions on his political policies among the people, Sanders does seem to strike many from both parties as a candidate who is for the people and honest.