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Bernie Sanders

D

Twitter Followers: 13.9M

Quick Facts
Personal Details

Bernie Sanders is an independent member of the U.S. Senate from Vermont who caucuses with the Democratic Party.

Sanders announced that he was running for president of the United States for a second time on February 19, 2019. He suspended his presidential campaign on April 8, 2020.

Sanders previously ran for the presidency in 2016, coming in second to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

In 2018, Sanders won re-election to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat and as an independent. In his 2006 Senate election and his 2012 re-election, he won the Democratic primary and then declined the nomination ahead of the general election so he could appear on the ballot as an independent.

Sanders was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007.

Sanders regularly endorses candidates in races across the country. For more information about his endorsements, see this page.

Sanders was born in 1941 in Brooklyn, New York, where he grew up. He earned his B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago in 1964 and went on to lecture at Harvard University and Hamilton College in New York. Sanders has also worked as a carpenter and a journalist.

After spending six months in a kibbutz (a communal settlement) in Israel, Sanders moved to Vermont in 1968. In the 1970s, he ran unsuccessfully for governor of Vermont twice and for U.S. Senate twice as a Liberty Union Party candidate. He was elected mayor of Burlington as an independent in 1981, defeating Democratic incumbent Gordon Paquette by a margin of 10 votes, and he served as mayor until 1989.

During his mayoral tenure, Sanders ran unsuccessful bids for governor and U.S. House as an independent before being elected to the House in 1990, where he served until joining the U.S. Senate in 2007.

Sanders sought the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, which he lost to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He received around 43 percent of the popular vote in the primaries compared to Clinton's 55 percent, and he received support from 39 percent of delegates at the national convention to Clinton's 60 percent.

Though Sanders has held elected office as an independent since 1981 and sought the Democratic nomination for president, he identifies as a democratic socialist.

Below is an abbreviated outline of Sanders' academic, professional, and political career:

  • 2007 - Present: U.S. Senator from Vermont
  • 1991-2007: Member of the United States House of Representatives
  • 1981-1989: Mayor of Burlington, Vermont

Education

  • BA, Political Science, University of Chicago, 1964
  • Attended, Brooklyn College, 1959-1960

Professional Experience

  • BA, Political Science, University of Chicago, 1964
  • Attended, Brooklyn College, 1959-1960
  • Former Employee, Bread and Law Task Force
  • Former Researcher, Vermont Department of Taxes
  • Lecturer, Hamilton College, 1989-1990
  • Lecturer, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1989
  • Director, American People's Historical Society, 1976-1981

Political Experience

  • BA, Political Science, University of Chicago, 1964
  • Attended, Brooklyn College, 1959-1960
  • Former Employee, Bread and Law Task Force
  • Former Researcher, Vermont Department of Taxes
  • Lecturer, Hamilton College, 1989-1990
  • Lecturer, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1989
  • Director, American People's Historical Society, 1976-1981
  • Chair of Outreach, Democratic Leadership, United States Senate, 2017-present
  • Senator, United States Senate, Vermont, 2006-present
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2016, 2020
  • Candidate, United States Senate, Vermont, 1972, 1974, 2006, 2012, 2018
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, Vermont, District At-Large, 1990-2006
  • Candidate, United States House of Representatives, Vermont, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004
  • Mayor, City of Burlington, 1981-1989
  • Candidate, Governor of Vermont, 1972, 1976, 1986

Former Committees/Caucuses

Co-Chair, Prescription Drug Task Force

Former Chair, Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, United States Senate

Former Member, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife, United States Senate

Former Member, Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee, United States Senate

Co-Chair, Congressional Child Care Caucus, 2003-2004

Officer, Congressional Progressive Caucus, 1991-1998

Co-Founder, Congressional Progressive Caucus, 1991

Current Legislative Committees

Ranking Member, Budget

Member, Energy and Natural Resources

Member, Environment and Public Works

Member, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Member, Subcommittee on Children and Families

Member, Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety

Member, Subcommittee on Energy

Member, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife

Member, Subcommittee on National Parks

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security

Member, Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Member, Subcommittee on Water and Power

Member, Veterans' Affairs

Religious, Civic, and other Memberships

  • BA, Political Science, University of Chicago, 1964
  • Attended, Brooklyn College, 1959-1960
  • Former Employee, Bread and Law Task Force
  • Former Researcher, Vermont Department of Taxes
  • Lecturer, Hamilton College, 1989-1990
  • Lecturer, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1989
  • Director, American People's Historical Society, 1976-1981
  • Chair of Outreach, Democratic Leadership, United States Senate, 2017-present
  • Senator, United States Senate, Vermont, 2006-present
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2016, 2020
  • Candidate, United States Senate, Vermont, 1972, 1974, 2006, 2012, 2018
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, Vermont, District At-Large, 1990-2006
  • Candidate, United States House of Representatives, Vermont, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004
  • Mayor, City of Burlington, 1981-1989
  • Candidate, Governor of Vermont, 1972, 1976, 1986
  • Member, Coalition on Population and Development
  • Member, Friends of Ireland
  • Member, National Guard and Reserve Components Organization
  • Member, Northeast-Midwest Coalition
  • Chair, Vermont Liberty Union Party, 1971-1976

Other Info

Astrological Sign:

Virgo

  • Paint Salesman

  • Homemaker

  • 7

— Publications:

  • Absolutely Absurd: The Life & Times of Bernie Sanders, Sleepy Hollow Press, 2002; Outsider in the House, Verso, 1997

2020

2019


Policy Positions

2020

China

How, if at all, should China’s treatment of the Uighurs and the situation in Hong Kong affect broader U.S. policy toward China?

- China is engaged in a program of mass internment and cultural genocide against the Uighur people. It has also been steadily eroding liberal democracy in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, the United States has limited options when it comes to pressuring Beijing to change its policies. But that does not mean that we should, as the Trump administration has done, abandon our role in promoting human rights, whether at the United Nations or as part of our ongoing trade negotiations with China. My administration will work with allies to strengthen global human rights standards and make every effort to let Beijing know that its behavior is damaging its international standing and undermining relations with the United States.

Iran

Would you rejoin the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? What changes to the existing agreement, if any, would you require before agreeing to rejoin the accord?

- Yes. The agreement achieved by the US, Europe, Russia and China with Iran is one of the strongest anti-nuclear agreements ever negotiated. It prevented a war and blocked Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon. I would re-enter the agreement on day one of my presidency and then work with the P5+1 and Iran to build upon it with additional measures to further block any path to a nuclear weapon, restrain Iran’s offensive actions in the region and forge a new strategic balance in the Middle East.

North Korea

Would you sign an agreement with North Korea that entailed partial sanctions relief in exchange for some dismantling of its nuclear weapons program but not full denuclearization?

- Yes, and then continue negotiations. Every step we take to reduce North Korea’s nuclear force, to open it up to inspections, to end the 70-year-old Korean War and to encourage peaceful relations between the Koreas and the United States increases the chances of complete denuclearization of the peninsula. Peace and nuclear disarmament must proceed in parallel, in close consultations with our South Korean ally. I will work to negotiate a step-by-step process to roll back North Korea’s nuclear program, build a new peace and security regime on the peninsula and work towards the eventual elimination of all North Korean nuclear weapons.

Ukraine

What, if any, steps would you take to counter Russian aggression against Ukraine?

- The framework put in place by the Obama Administration—the European Reassurance Initiative and multilateral sanctions—seems to have helped contain Russian aggression in Ukraine. My administration will make clear to Russia that additional aggression will force the United States to increase pressure, including expanding beyond current sanctions. For now, our main priority should be to work closely with our European allies to help the new Ukrainian government make good on its promises to reform the economy, improve standards of living, and substantially reduce corruption.

Afghanistan

1. Would you commit to the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of your first term, or would you require certain conditions be met before doing so?

- I would withdraw U.S. military forces from Afghanistan as expeditiously as possible. Our military has now been in Afghanistan for nearly eighteen years. We will soon have troops in Afghanistan who were not even born on September 11, 2001. It’s time to end our intervention there and bring our troops home, in a planned and coordinated way combined with a serious diplomatic and political strategy which helps deliver desperately needed humanitarian aid. Withdrawing troops does not mean withdrawing all involvement, and my administration would stay politically engaged in these countries and do whatever we can to help them develop their economy and strengthen a government that is responsible to its people.

Saudi Arabia

Given the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the civil war in Yemen, what changes, if any, would you make to U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia?

- The reality is that the U.S.-Saudi relationship needs to change. It is based on cheap oil, millions of dollars of arms sales, a complete disregard for Saudi Arabia's human rights violations, and willful blindness when it comes to Saudi's spread of religious radicalism. We must immediately end our support for Saudi Arabia's carnage in Yemen and clearly signal Riyadh that we categorically reject their not-too-unsubtle efforts to drag the US into a conflict with Iran. But we must also recognize that for the sake of stability in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia needs to be part of the solution. It’s a hard reality that the United States sometimes has to work with undemocratic governments to protect our own security, but we should also recognize that relying on corrupt authoritarian regimes to deliver us security is a losing bet. Democratic governments that are accountable to their own people, which share our values and have open societies make far better partners in the long term.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Do you support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, if so, how would you go about trying to achieve it?

- Yes, the parameters of that solution are well known. They are based in international law, in multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, and are supported by an overwhelming international consensus: Two states based on the 1967 lines, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. Ultimately, it’s up to the Palestinians and Israelis themselves to make the choices necessary for a final agreement, but the United States has a major role to play in brokering that agreement. My administration would also be willing to bring real pressure to bear on both sides, including conditioning military aid, to create consequences for moves that undermine the chances for peace.

Venezuela

What, if any, additional steps should the United States take to remove Nicolás Maduro from power in Venezuela?

- My administration would support the negotiations between the Maduro government and the opposition, and work with other countries in our region, and the international community, to support the Venezuelan people’s right to build their own future. The United States should support the rule of law, fair elections and self-determination in Venezuela, as we should elsewhere. We would condemn the use of violence against unarmed protesters and the suppression of dissent. We would also listen to the voices of Venezuelan activists themselves who warn against broad sanctions, such as the Trump administration’s oil sanctions, that mainly punish the people, not the government. My administration would not be in the business of regime change. The United States has a long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries; we must not go down that road again.

Africa

By 2050, Africa will account for 25 percent of the world’s population according to projections by the United Nations. What are the implications of this demographic change for the United States, and how should we adjust our policies to anticipate them?

- America must create room for Africa to play a greater role in setting the global agenda or else we will repeat the colonialist/imperialist history of the 19th and 20th century that suppressed African opinions and impoverished Africa. Our global institutions, like the IMF, World Bank and UN Security Council (which we lead) must reflect the changing global demographics and add Africa to leadership roles. For too long we have been comfortable with Africa taking a back seat in setting the global agenda and being responsible for world peace. The US is about 5 percent of the world’s population and consumes about 25% of the world’s resources to live the way that it does. We must invest in making Africa more efficient than the rest of the world in order to avoid resources wars, which are already happening. Supporting the UN sustainable development goals is a critical part of this. We can explore tax breaks to these sort of Sustainable Development Goal investors who are investing in making the world more efficient.

Trade

1. Under what circumstances, if any, would you support the United States joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), formerly the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

- Under no circumstance would we rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership under a Sanders Administration. I helped lead the effort against this disastrous unfettered trade agreement. The TPP follows in the footsteps of other unfettered free trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and the Permanent Normalized Trade Agreement with China (PNTR). These treaties have forced American workers to compete against desperate and low-wage labor around the world. The result has been massive job losses in the United States and the shutting down of tens of thousands of factories.

Re-joining the TPP would not bring back one American job that has been outsourced to China. Instead, it would force more American workers to compete with desperate workers in Vietnam who make less than a dollar an hour and migrant computer workers in Malaysia who are working as modern-day slaves. It is bad enough to force U.S. workers to compete with low-wage labor; they should not be forced to compete with no-wage labor.

We need to fundamentally rewrite our trade policies to benefit American workers, not just the CEOs of large, multi-national corporations. Rejoining the TPP would be a betrayal of American workers and a step in the wrong direction.

Climate

How would you discourage the proliferation of coal-fired power plants in developing countries?

- Solving our climate crisis requires a major diplomatic campaign. A major goal of U.S. foreign policy should be to create the conditions for all countries to transition to carbon-neutral energy. That includes developing countries that burn coal. The first thing we must do is act aggressively to decarbonize our own economy so that we have the credibility and influence to lead. As we do so, we should orchestrate a multilateral campaign — a Green New Deal for the World — to coordinate investment in green technology and make that technology widely available through long-term financing for the poor countries that currently depend on coal and other fossil fuels.

U.S. Foreign Policy

What has been the greatest foreign policy accomplishment of the United States since World War II? What has been the biggest mistake?

- For greatest accomplishments, I would name two. First, the extremely radical foreign policy initiative called the Marshall Plan. Historically, when countries won terrible wars, they exacted retribution on the vanquished. But in 1948, the United States government did something absolutely unprecedented. After losing hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the most brutal war in history to defeat the barbarity of Nazi Germany and Japanese imperialism, the government of the United States decided not to punish and humiliate the losers. Rather, we helped rebuild their economies, spending the equivalent of $130 billion just to reconstruct Western Europe after World War II. We also provided them support to reconstruct democratic societies. Despite centuries of hostility, there has not been a major European war since World War II. That is an extraordinary foreign policy success that we should be very proud of.

The second was supporting the creation of the United Nations, which former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt called “our greatest hope for future peace.” It is fashionable to bash the UN, which can be ineffective, bureaucratic, too slow or unwilling to act, even in the face of massive atrocities. But to see only its weaknesses is to overlook the enormously important work the UN does in promoting global health, aiding refugees, monitoring elections, and doing international peacekeeping missions, among other things. All of these activities contribute to reduced conflict, to wars that don’t have to be ended because they never start.

The biggest blunder is the war in Iraq, which I strongly opposed. The war in Iraq led to the deaths of some 4,400 U.S. troops and the wounding of tens of thousands of others—not to mention the pain inflicted on wives and children and parents. It led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands Iraqi civilians and the displacement of millions. It created a cascade of instability around the region that we will be dealing with for many years to come. It cost trillions of dollars, money that should have been spent on health care, education, infrastructure, and environmental protection, distracted us from pressing issues like climate change, and undermined our ability to work with allies to address other challenges.

Abortion

1. Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
- Pro-choice

Budget

1. In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
- Yes

2. Do you support expanding federal funding to support entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare?
- Yes

Campaign Finance

1. Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
- Yes

Defense

Do you support increasing defense spending?
- No

Economy

1. Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
- Yes

2. Do you support lowering corporate taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
- No

Education

1. Do you support requiring states to adopt federal education standards?
- No

Energy & Environment

1. Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, geo-thermal)?
- Yes

2. Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
- Yes

Guns

1. Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
- Yes

Health Care

1. Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
- No

Immigration

1. Do you support the construction of a wall along the Mexican border?
- No

2. Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
- No

National Security

1. Should the United States use military force to prevent governments hostile to the U.S. from possessing a weapon of mass destruction (for example: nuclear, biological, chemical)?
- No

2. Do you support reducing military intervention in Middle East conflicts?
- Yes

Trade

1. Do you generally support removing barriers to international trade (for example: tariffs, quotas, etc.)?
- No

Vermont Congressional Election 2012 Political Courage Test

Abortion

1. Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
- Pro-choice

Afghanistan

1. Do you support a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan?
- Yes

2. I support a timetable for quick and complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan. We went to war against Afghanistan to capture Osama bin Laden. He is now dead, and our reason for being there no longer pertains/.
- Bernard Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 2012 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Selected NO ANSWER for: "Do you support United States' combat operations in Afghanistan?" Afghanistan: other or expanded principles: "I support a timetable for quick and complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan. We went to war against Afghanistan to capture Osama bin Laden. He is now dead, and our reason for being there no longer pertains/." Peace Action West. 04/18/2012. "Bernie Sanders supported the interests of Peace Action West 86 percent in 2010." (votesmart.org) Peace Action. 04/18/2012. "Bernie Sanders supported the interests of the Peace Action 86 percent in 2010." (votesmart.org) Bernie Sanders. S Amdt 4204. 112th Congress. Requiring Afghanistan Troop Redeployment Plan and Timetable. Bernie Sanders voted Yea on 05/27/2010. (votesmart.org)

Budget

Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing the federal budget.In order to balance the budget,

1. do you support reducing defense spending?
- Yes

2. do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
- Yes

3. do you support reducing Medicaid spending?
- No

4. do you support reducing Medicare spending?
- No

5. Is balancing the budget a legislative priority?
- Yes

Campaign Finance

1. Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
- Yes

Capital Punishment

Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
- No Answer

Economy

1. Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
- Yes

2. Do you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
- Yes

3. Do you support spending on infrastructure projects for the purpose of job creation?
- Yes

4. Do you support the temporary extension of unemployment benefits?
- Yes

5. Do you support the 2010 temporary extension of tax relief?
- No Answer

Education

1. Do you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants?
- No

Energy

Do you support reducing restrictions on offshore energy production?
- No

Environment

1. Do you believe that human activity is contributing to climate change?
- Yes

2. Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
- Yes

Guns

1. I believe that most concerns about owndership, purchase and possession of guns is best addressed at the state level. As a senator, I believe in deferring this question to the states.
- Bernie Sanders. S Amdt 4070. 110th Congress. Prohibiting Funds in the Bill S 1200 from Being Used to Decrease Gun Ownership. Bernie Sanders voted Yea on 02/25/2008. (votesmart.org) Gun Owners of America. 04/18/2012. "In 2010 Gun Owners of America gave Bernie Sanders a grade of 18." (votesmart.org) Bernie Sanders. H AMDT 1156. 110th Congress. Trigger Lock Amendment. Bernie Sanders voted Nay on 06/28/2006. (votesmart.org) Bernie Sanders. S Amdt 1618. 111th Congress. Authorizing Concealed Firearms Across State Lines. Bernie Sanders voted Nay on 07/22/2009. (votesmart.org) Bernie Sanders. HR 125. 104th Congress. Gun Ban Repeal Act of 1995. Bernie Sanders voted Nay on 03/22/1996. (votesmart.org) Bernard Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 2012 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Selected NO ANSWER for: "Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?" Guns other or expanded principles: "I believe that most concerns about owndership, purchase and possession of guns is best addressed at the state level. As a senator, I believe in deferring this question to the states." Bernard Sanders. News August 3. 3 August 2012. "With the debate over gun control simmering in the wake of the shooting in Aurora, Colo., the members of Vermont's congressional delegation reiterated their beliefs that individual states should maintain their ability to shape their own firearm laws. "In my view, decisions about gun control should be made as close to home as possible," Sen. Sanders told the Addison County Independent." (www.sanders.senate.gov) Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 2000 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "a) Ban the sale or transfer of semi-automatic guns, except those used for hunting." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 2000 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Checked SUPPORT for: "j) Require background checks of gun buyers at gun shows." Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning gun issues. Other or expanded principles: "Maintain Ban on Semi-Automatic Assault Weapons" Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 1996 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "a) Expand the nationwide ban on the sale or transfer of assault weapons to include all forms of semi-automatic weapons." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 2000 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "k) Require a license for gun possession." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 1996 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "d) Ease procedures on the purchase and registration of firearms." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 1996 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "b) Increase restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 2000 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "c) Ease federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 2000 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "i) Raise the minimum age for ownership of handguns from 18 to 21." Bernie Sanders. HR 4296. 104th Congress. Regulation of Semi-Automatic Assault Weapons. Bernie Sanders voted Yea on 05/05/1994. (votesmart.org) Bernie Sanders. HR 2122. 106th Congress. Mandatory Gun Show Background Check Act. Bernie Sanders voted Nay on 06/18/1999. (votesmart.org) Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. 04/18/2012. "Bernie Sanders supported the interests of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence 66 percent from 1988-2003 (Senate) or 1991-2003 (House)." (votesmart.org) Bernie Sanders. H Amdt 390. 103th Congress. Instant Background Checks for Gun Purchase Amendment. Bernie Sanders voted Yea on 11/10/1993. (votesmart.org) Bernie Sanders. S 397. 109th Congress. Firearms Manufacturers Protection Bill. Bernie Sanders voted Yea on 10/20/2005. (votesmart.org) Bernie Sanders. HR 1025. 103th Congress. Brady Handgun Bill. Bernie Sanders voted Nay on 11/10/1993. (votesmart.org) Bernie Sanders. S Amdt 1067. 111th Congress. Allowing Loaded Guns in National Parks. Bernie Sanders voted Yea on 05/12/2009. (votesmart.org) Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 1994 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "Impose a national ban on the public sale of assault weapons." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 1992 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Selected "Strongly Oppose" for: "A mandatory waiting period before the purchase of a handgun." Which of the following anti-crime measures do you support or oppose? Other or expanded principles: "A ban on specified assault-style semiautomatic weapons." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 2000 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "d) Repeal federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 2000 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "e) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 1996 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "e) Repeal all bans and measures that restrict law-abiding citizens from owning legally-obtained firearms." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 2000 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Checked SUPPORT for: "b) Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns." Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning gun issues. Other or expanded principles: "Maintain Ban on Semi-Automatic Assault Weapons" Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 1996 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Checked SUPPORT for: "c) Maintain all federal registration procedures and restrictions on possessing firearms." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 1996 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "f) Allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms that are legally owned and registered." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 2000 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Checked SUPPORT for: "f) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks on guns." Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning gun issues. Other or expanded principles: "Maintain Ban on Semi-Automatic Assault Weapons" Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 1994 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "Impose a national ban on the sale of handguns to minors." Bernie Sanders. Project Vote Smart: 1996 Vermont Congressional Political Courage Test. Did Not Check SUPPORT for: "d) Implement tighter restrictions on firearm sales in an effort to hinder terrorist groups from stockpiling weapon arsenals."

Health Care

1. Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
- Yes

2. Should individuals be required to purchase health insurance, as mandated in the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
- Yes

Immigration

1. Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
- No

2. Do you support allowing illegal immigrants, who were brought to the United States as minors, to pursue citizenship without returning to their country of origin?
- Yes

3. Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration law by state and local police?
- No Answer

Marriage

Do you support same-sex marriage?
- Yes

National Security

1. Do you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict?
- No

2. Should the U.S use military force in order to prevent Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon?
- No

Social Security

Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?
- No

Spending and Taxes

SpendingIndicate what federal spending levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.TaxesIndicate what federal tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.

1. Agriculture
- Slightly Decrease

2. Arts
- Maintain Status

3. Defense
- Greatly Decrease

4. Education
- Greatly Increase

5. Environment
- Slightly Increase

6. Homeland Security
- Maintain Status

7. International aid
- Maintain Status

8. Medical Research
- Slightly Increase

9. Scientific Research
- Maintain Status

10. Space exploration
- Slightly Decrease

11. United Nations
- Maintain Status

12. Welfare
- Maintain Status

13. Capital gains taxes
- Greatly Increase

14. Corporate taxes
- Greatly Increase

15. Excise taxes (alcohol)
- Maintain Status

16. Excise taxes (cigarettes)
- Maintain Status

17. Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
- Maintain Status

18. Income taxes (low-income families)
- Slightly Decrease

19. Income taxes (middle-income families)
- Maintain Status

20. Income taxes (high-income families)
- Greatly Increase

21. Inheritance taxes
- Greatly Increase

22. Payroll taxes
- No Answer

23. Payroll taxes: I favor ending the payroll tax reduction, which was instituted as a short-term measure to stimulate the economy, because over the long term it will weaken the Social Security Trust Fund. I favor removing the cap on payroll taxes for those earning over $250,000 a year, because doing so would guarantee that all Social Security benefits could be paid for the next 75 years. I believe, I stated earlier, that the wealthy and corporations need to pay their fair share of taxes.
- 1 Develop sustainable energy and create green jobs 6 Eliminate corporte welfare

Congress Bills
Elections

2020

Presidency

An election for president of the United States will be held on November 3, 2020. Sanders announced that he was running for president on February 19, 2019. He suspended his presidential campaign on April 8, 2020.

2018

General election
General election for U.S. Senate Vermont

The following candidates ran in the general election for U.S. Senate Vermont on November 6, 2018.

Bernie Sanders (Independent)
67.3%
183,649 Votes

Lawrence Zupan (R)
27.4%
74,663 Votes

Brad Peacock (Independent)
1.4%
3,787 Votes

Russell Beste (Independent)
1.0%
2,763 Votes

Edward Gilbert Jr. (Independent)
0.8%
2,244 Votes

Folasade Adeluola (Independent)
0.7%
1,979 Votes

Jon Svitavsky (Independent)
0.5%
1,280 Votes

Silhouette Placeholder Image.png

Reid Kane (Liberty Union Party)
0.4%
1,171 Votes

Bruce Busa (Independent)
0.3%
914 Votes
Other/Write-in votes
0.1%
294 Votes

Total votes: 272,744

Democratic election
Democratic primary for U.S. Senate Vermont

Incumbent Bernie Sanders defeated Folasade Adeluola in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate Vermont on August 14, 2018.

Bernie Sanders
94.4%
63,322 Votes

Folasade Adeluola
5.6%
3,748 Votes

Total votes: 67,070

Republican election
Republican primary for U.S. Senate Vermont

H. Brooke Paige defeated Lawrence Zupan, Jasdeep Pannu, and Roque De La Fuente in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate Vermont on August 14, 2018.

H. Brooke Paige
39.6%
9,805 Votes

Lawrence Zupan
37.9%
9,383 Votes

Jasdeep Pannu
18.3%
4,527 Votes

Roque De La Fuente
4.3%
1,057 Votes

Total votes: 24,772


2016

Presidency

Sanders was a Democratic candidate for the office of President of the United States in 2016. He made his candidacy official on April 30, 2015. He was the second Democratic candidate to formally announce his entry into the race, following Hillary Clinton. On July 12, 2016, Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for president but not did formally suspend his campaign.

2012

Sanders ran for re-election in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Vermont. Sanders ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on August 28, 2012. He also ran as an independent. He defeated John MacGovern (R), Cris Ericson (United States Marijuana Party), Laurel LaFramboise (VoteKISS), Pete Diamondstone (Liberty Union) and Peter Moss (Peace and Prosperity) in the general election on November 6, 2012.

U.S. Senate, Vermont, General Election, 2012

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Independent Green check mark transparent.pngBernie Sanders Incumbent 71.1% 207,848
Republican John MacGovern 24.9% 72,898
Third Cris Ericson 2% 5,924
Third Laurel LaFramboise 0.3% 877
Third Peter Moss 0.8% 2,452
Third Pete Diamondstone 0.9% 2,511
Total Votes 292,510
Source: Vermont Board of Elections, "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Full history


Speeches

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Mar. 4, 2021Floor Speech

Federal Minimum Wage

Mar. 4, 2021Floor Speech
Articles

Medium - It's Time to Guarantee Every American Access to Basic Banking Services

Sep. 25, 2020

By Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders The American people are facing immense challenges from the pandemic, the economic meltdown, and our country's long history of racial inequality. Deeply misguided federal policy from the Trump Administration has only added fuel to the fire, putting so much in jeopardy -- from the finances of hardworking families to the future of the post office. To help address those challenges, we're reintroducing a new version of the Postal Banking Act. Postal banking--putting a nonprofit bank in every post office--will generate up to $9 billion of revenue a year for the Post Office, allowing it to remain operational -- and public. That's critical, because millions of Americans rely on the USPS for their prescription medication, their paychecks, and their ballots. The USPS has a constitutional obligation to provide the same service to all of us, whether you live at the end of a dirt road or work on Wall Street. No private, profit-driven company would have that obligation, or even try to meet it. We know that because we've seen corporations and banks leave rural and low-income communities in droves. Today, one in four Americans are unbanked or underbanked -- either because their community doesn't have a bank at all or because they don't have the funds to access bank services. If you're wealthy you can easily open a bank account and get low interest loans. If you're not wealthy, you can't. If a bank doesn't see you as a source of profit, they're simply not interested. That leaves far too many people with no options other than costly, predatory products. Every year, hardworking families are forced to spend $100 billion on predatory products like payday loans, check cashing services, and even overdraft fees just to access their own money. The sad truth is, it is expensive to be poor in America. We have to change that. Postal banking will help us bring the same equality of service the USPS has for mail delivery to the financial system. Putting a public, nonprofit bank in each of the Postal Service's 30,000 locations will bring low-cost banking services to people of every income level everywhere from rural communities to inner cities. The Postal Banking Act would give families access to the financial system many of us take for granted. It would offer small dollar checking and savings accounts, debit cards, low-fee ATMs, online banking services, and wire transfers. Most importantly, it would also offer small dollar loans so that if a family's car breaks down or they need to buy their child new shoes or stock up on school supplies, they won't have to go to payday lenders who might charge them 200% interest that they'll be paying back for years. At postal banks, loans would use the one-month Treasury Rate, the interest rate at which many of the world's largest financial institutions are lent money. It's often as low as 2%. This legislation says that if that rate is good enough for Wall Street, it's good enough for every American. The difference between 2% interest and 200% interest is an economic justice issue and a racial justice issue. Big banks often overlook or avoid low-income and minority communities. That makes it disproportionately harder for Black and brown Americans to get money to start a business or to access a microloan, pushes them to predatory services and further widens the racial wealth gap. Postal banks would provide an antidote to that institutional racism by making financial services affordable to everyone, allowing families to save all of the money they would've spent on exorbitant interest rates and fees and start accruing wealth. That will also make it easier for families to recover from a financial setback, which is especially important in the face of COVID and the economic crisis. This bill will help us rework the entire financial system. And the best thing about postal banking is that we already know it works. Today, the USPS does over $20 billion a year in money orders, and from 1911 to 1966 it offered many of the products we are proposing, helping millions of low income families through the Great Depression and two World Wars. Postal banking was America's most successful experiment in financial inclusion. At this moment, when families are facing growing economic uncertainty and a widening wealth gap, it could not be more needed. Our bill will also ensure that postal banks, and the postal service at large, would remain public institutions, and stop the slow creep toward privatization. Putting banks in post offices is not about creating opportunity for big banks, it's about creating opportunity for the American people. Together, we will guarantee basic banking services and financial opportunity for all -- no outrageous fees or interest rates -- all at your local post office.

NY Cancels Primary Election After Sanders Asks to Stay on Ballot

Apr. 28, 2020

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York canceled its 2020 Democratic presidential primary election because of the coronavirus pandemic, infuriating former candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign and his supporters. They called Monday’s decision a strike against democracy. The Democratic members of the state Board of Elections voted to nix the primary. New York will still hold its congressional and state-level primaries on June 23. Commissioner Andrew Spano said he worried about potentially forcing voters and poll workers to choose between their democratic duty and their health. While there will still be other offices on the ballot, Spano reasoned it made sense to give voters an opportunity to choose in contested races but not to “have anyone on the ballot just for the purposes of issues at a convention.” The results of the upcoming primary were largely symbolic since Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, had already dropped out of the race, making Joe Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee. Still, the cancellation comes at a pivotal time for the former vice president, who is working to coalesce progressives’ support behind him — and could find those efforts complicated. Sanders’ campaign had asked the commissioners not to cancel the primary, noting that it helped select delegates who help determine the party’s platform and rules. “Today’s decision by the State of New York Board of Elections is an outrage, a blow to American democracy,” Sanders senior adviser Jeff Weaver said in a statement, arguing the Democratic National Committee “must” overturn it. The move sets up a potential showdown with the national party and Sanders over the New York delegation to Democrats’ summer convention, scheduled for the week of Aug. 17 in Milwaukee. Sanders has endorsed Biden, but the two camps are in negotiations over how to distribute convention delegates. Sanders has said he wants his supporters to continue voting for him in upcoming primaries, both for them to have their say and to maximize his influence on the party platform and rules. The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on New York’s action. But one of Sanders’ top allies pointed at Gov. Andrew Cuomo and said Biden isn’t to blame, though it hurts the presumptive nominee anyway. “This kind of Democratic Party politics is an outrage,” said Larry Cohen, the chair of Our Revolution, the grassroots offshoot of Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen added, “I can’t imagine they don’t realize this creates disunity at a time they are trying to build unity.” Cohen also scoffed at the notion that New York could hold primaries for other offices but not for president. “This is the Democratic Party of the 19th century,” he said. Cohen co-chaired a special Democratic commission that overhauled the national party’s primary process after the 2016 election. Among the changes were making it easier to vote in New York’s closed Democratic primary by giving independent voters more time to change their registration. Long before the pandemic, all state parties submitted “delegate selection plans” for the national party’s approval. Going outside that approved plan almost certainly would require a waiver from the national party and subject New York to penalties that could cost the state as much as half its votes at the convention. The New York Democratic Party has until its mid-July meeting to decide how to handle delegates, chair Jay Jacobs said. “I would like to see it be a fair allocation of delegates so that the Sanders supporters are represented in that delegation,” Jacobs said. “To what degree and what number, I don’t know.” He said he’d consult with the Biden and Sanders camps and the DNC to hash out something “that everybody would feel is fair.” There was no immediate comment from the DNC. Weaver said the action in Albany violated New York’s approved delegate selection plan, and if it’s not “remedied,” the state should lose all its delegates to the party convention. The New York Working Families Party, which endorsed Sanders, said the state Democratic Party “just sent a clear message to progressives that their voice and their values do not matter.” The decision to cancel was left to Democratic state election commissioners. Both the state’s Democratic Party and Cuomo have said they didn’t ask election commissioners to make the change. A little-known provision in the recently passed state budget allows the Board of Elections to remove from the ballot candidates who have suspended or terminated their campaign. Co-Chairman Douglas Kellner said canceling the primary was a “very difficult decision,” but Sanders’ decision to suspend his and endorse Biden, “effectively ended the real contest for the presidential nomination.” “What the Sanders supporters want is essentially a beauty contest that, given the situation with the public health emergency that exists now, seems to be unnecessary and, indeed, frivolous,” Kellner said. New Yorkers can choose to vote with an absentee ballot in the remaining June primaries under a Cuomo executive order that adds the risk of acquiring COVID-19 as a reason. Cuomo also recently announced the state is sending mail-in ballot applications to voters. ___ Peltz reported from New York City. Associated Press writers Michael Hill in Albany, Bill Barrow in Atlanta and Will Weissert in Washington contributed to this report.Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

How Sanders Was 'Russia-gated' Out of the 2020 Race

Apr. 19, 2020

Just about six weeks ago, before the coronavirus consumed every aspect of American social and political life, Bernie Sanders appeared well-positioned to win the Democratic presidential nomination. The reasons for his campaign’s swift demise will be debated for years to come, and they are certainly multifaceted. However, one of those reasons is fairly straightforward, yet has received little attention from his supporters, detractors, and the wider media: Sen. Sanders got “Russia-gated.” It happened at a critical juncture, just as his electoral strength was reaching an apex. Rather than fend off this damaging attack, though, Sanders accepted the premise behind it — thus solidifying the attack’s potency and, arguably, sealing his fate. Of course, to even turn the neologism Russia-gate into a verb is a bit of a farce. But that owes to the general farcical nature of Russia-gate -- a political virus that has infected the U.S. body politic for four years now, before being superseded (at least temporarily) by the current biological virus outbreak. So as the postmortems commence in earnest after the suspension of his campaign last week and his formal endorsement of Joe Biden on Monday, it’s worth retracing the chronology of this highly consequential Russia-gating episode, seeing as it may well have hastened Sanders’ collapse -- and all-but-assured that Biden would be the Democratic presidential nominee. At 4:16 p.m. Eastern time on Feb. 21, word leaked to the Washington Post that Russia was “trying to help” the Sanders campaign. The resulting article was thinly sourced, inflammatory, and played into the most sinister perceptions of what Sanders might be up to -- so of course it rocketed with warp-speed across the entire media ecosystem. “People familiar with the matter” were quoted as relaying that “U.S. officials” had briefed the senator to inform him of “Russia’s efforts to interfere” once again in American democracy -- evoking traumatic memories of 2016, at least for anguished liberals -- and that he, Bernie, was the alleged beneficiary. Everything about it was straight out of the well-rehearsed 2016-2019 Russia-gate playbook. Vague, unverifiable claims; reckless granting of anonymity; credulous media acceptance of a scintillating but empirically flimsy narrative. What did this latest round of so-called Russian interference even purportedly consist of? It was never clarified, and that’s by design. Because we know past allegations of Russian interference had largely consisted of scattered Facebook posts and Twitter bots that were spuriously linked to the Russian government. Virtually zero accountability was ever imposed on the innumerable political and media actors who were responsible for propagating evidence-free Russia hysteria as it related to Donald Trump, however, so there was very little appetite to apply any real skepticism to these new Bernie-related charges either. Especially not by the legacy media, which had bought into earlier iterations of supposed Russian perfidy hook, line, and sinker. Accordingly, Wolf Blitzer burst onto the airwaves that February afternoon (with the obligatory “breaking news” orchestral arrangement in the background) to intone: “A pretty significant development. A formal briefing now, by the U.S. intelligence community, to Senator Sanders that the Russians are trying to help him.” “That’s right Wolf,” chimed in Evan Perez, the “senior justice correspondent” for CNN.  “It's happening again." Indeed, “it” was happening again, but not in the way that Wolf and Evan claimed. What was actually happening was another weaponization of purposely vague “Russian interference” innuendo, which just about everyone associated with the Democratic Party, including Sanders himself, had egged on for years when it functioned as a convenient cudgel against Trump. Even the Bernie-sympathetic press -- most notably online left-wing “alternative” media -- had cheered on the shambolic Mueller investigation and its various inane offshoots. So they lacked the standing, awareness, and/or credibility to object when similarly fallacious charges were leveled against Sanders. Because if there was any bona fide interference on display during that period in February, it was perpetrated by the anonymous security state officials -- along with their compliant media partners -- who once again took it upon themselves to interfere in the U.S. electoral process by spreading unfounded geopolitical conspiracy rumors. But rather than defend himself against what was clearly a scurrilous attempt to destroy his reputation with Democratic Primary voters -- most of whom had consistently identified Russia as America’s greatest enemy -- Sanders disarmed himself. Instead of pointing out the absurdity of this suspiciously timed leak, aided and abetted by his antagonists in the corporate media, he chose to validate the premise of his own Russia-gating. Americans are “sick and tired of seeing Russia and other countries interfering in our elections!” Sanders fulminated melodramatically after the Washington Post story hit. “The intelligence community has been very clear about it.” Not a shred of skepticism evinced about the veracity of the extremely harmful claim -- that Russia was interfering on his behalf. Just uncritical acceptance of wholly unsubstantiated “intelligence community” gossip filtered through the conniving corporate media, which in other circumstances Sanders had been glad to pillory. Like clockwork, the ensuing MSNBC headline blared: “As Putin Meddles in 2020, Bernie Sanders Hits Back and Reveals He Knew of Operation Before Debate.” But wait a second: Had it been factually established that Putin was indeed meddling in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race? If so, where were those facts? (Answer: nowhere to be found.) What was the precise nature of this alleged operation? Almost two months later, and we still have no idea. The story seems to have been forgotten. Which probably says something about the legitimacy of the story to begin with. But for Bernie, the (partially self-inflicted) damage was already done. And it was a precision strike. Throughout the Trump era, a supermajority of self-described Democrats have expressed the belief that Russia “tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected president” in 2016. Not just lightly interfered with some small-scale social media chicanery, mind you, but literally hacked the nation’s election infrastructure to put Trump in the White House. Which is of course demonstrably false, but still widely believed by Democrats. The depiction of Trump as a Kremlin-conspiring infiltrator has now dominated left/liberal political consciousness for going on four years, notwithstanding the cruel disappointment of the anticlimactic Mueller Report. Democratic presidential candidates (including Sanders) had already been competing amongst themselves for who could take the “toughest” line on Putin. And by the time of his own Russia-gating, a Russia-focused impeachment trial had just concluded, one explicitly predicated on the thesis -- articulated by Nancy Pelosi -- that when it comes to Trump, “all roads lead to Putin” as evidenced by his treasonous conspiring with the Kremlin. So the Democratic electorate had been primed after several emotionally intense, paranoia-inducing years to view all Russia-related news in the most alarmist possible light. If you want to “trigger” an MSNBC-watching liberal of a certain age, simply say “Russia.” From Peak to Nose-Dive It’s within this frenzied context that the Russia-gating of Bernie Sanders, who at the time was seeking votes of inordinately energized, media-attuned Democratic Primary voters, must be understood. The Washington Post article was published just hours before the Nevada caucuses, held on Saturday, Feb. 22, although judging strictly by the outcome of that single contest it had no discernible impact. Sanders won a blowout victory, his largest of the entire primary campaign by far -- defeating his nearest rival, Biden, by a walloping 27 percentage points. As it turned out, the result was deceiving. Nevada was the last major caucus state of the 2020 primary cycle, and since his 2016 run, Sanders had always over-performed in caucuses -- which place a high premium on ground-level organizational prowess, an asset his campaign had in spades. Caucus-goers are more engaged in the electoral process than the typical voter, seeing as they must have at least some understanding of the arcane caucus system in order to participate. As such, a low-turnout caucus dominated by left-wing activists in an idiosyncratic Western state was clearly not representative of the rest of the country. (Numerous caucus states that Sanders had won by large margins in 2016 -- such as Minnesota, Maine, Idaho, and Washington -- he subsequently lost in 2020 after they converted to higher-turnout primaries.) So whatever “momentum” Sanders may have had after his victory in Nevada proved illusory: The true test would be South Carolina, followed by Super Tuesday, when a huge portion of the Democratic primary electorate was set to vote. And in that pivotal 12-day period -- from Feb. 21, the day the “Russian interference” story first began circulating, through to the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29 and culminating on the Super Tuesday primaries of March 3 -- one of the factors influencing Democratic primary voters’ perceptions of Sanders was that he was being helped by Russia. Sanders’ decision to meekly accept this ridiculous narrative, instead of refuting it, was time he never got back. Right at the outset of the Democratic primary debate in South Carolina on Feb. 25 -- and during the portion where most viewers were tuned in -- his oligarchic nemesis Mike Bloomberg launched into a broadside, capping off the days-long Russia-gating ambush. “Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States,” Bloomberg fumed at Sanders. “And that’s why Russia is helping you get elected, so you lose to him!” Did Sanders rebut Bloomberg’s malicious assertion that Russia was actively helping him to get elected? No, he did not. Instead, he rattled off a standard Democratic Party talking point by addressing himself unconvincingly to Vladimir Putin. “Mr. Putin,” Sanders declared, “if I'm president of the United States, trust me, you're not going to interfere in any more American elections.” So was Sanders confirming that Putin had in fact been interfering in the race on his behalf? It kind of sounded that way. In the previous week’s debate, on Feb. 20 in Las Vegas, Sanders even speculated that “Bernie Bros” allegedly exhibiting excessively antagonistic behavior online may in fact be Russian agents. “I'm not saying that's happening,” he clarified. “But it would not shock me.” As such, Sanders set the groundwork for, and was complicit in, his own Russia-gating. But it didn’t begin in February 2020. Just before his slim victory in the New Hampshire primary, Sanders denounced Trump for “cozying up to Putin” -- whatever that means, exactly -- and one of the TV ads he had blanketing the airwaves displayed a grim image of Trump and Putin committing the gravely collusive act of shaking one another’s hands. (Emblazoned on the ad was the caption: “MOST CORRUPT PRESIDENT.”) The stage-setting actually went back much further. In 2017, Sanders ominously warned: “We need to know if President Trump's foreign policy represents the best interests of this country or the best interests of Russia.” In 2018, he postulated that Trump was “under Russian influence because of compromising information they may have on him” -- just a half-step away from the fever swamp dreamlands of the most looney-tunes Steele dossier obsessives. By May 2019, Sanders had proclaimed his support for impeaching Trump solely on the basis of the Mueller Report. It’s true that Sanders wasn’t as single-minded about the Russian collusion conspiracy, or even the offshoot Ukraine impeachment saga, as many other high-profile Democrats. It’s also true, however, that when he did broach those topics he was still quite vehement. Whether he did this in an attempt to broaden his appeal among more mainstream Democratic voters, or because he actually believed the conspiracy theories, is an open question. The result was the same either way: Once the Russian interference narrative boomeranged back on him, he was utterly ill-equipped to object. And it was all eminently foreseeable. Sanders himself had been cited in the Mueller Report as an alleged beneficiary of Russian interference during the 2016 primary cycle when he ran against Hillary Clinton. Because he’d become complicit in the peddling of Russia hysteria in the interim, he forfeited his standing to challenge the underlying logic of the story line. After the February episode, the task of defending him vociferously instead fell to Tulsi Gabbard, who wrote a scathing op-ed outing the disingenuous media and intelligence community over their tactics. She was evidently more eager to defend Sanders than Sanders was to defend himself. Days later, Sanders was buried in South Carolina by a devastating landslide. He then lost resoundingly on Super Tuesday even in states his campaign had expected to win, including Texas and Massachusetts. There are obviously other reasons besides Russia-gate for Sanders' precipitous decline – for one, the news media assigned almost mythical status to Biden-backing South Carolina Democrat James Clyburn. It’s also clear that the composition of the Democratic primary electorate changed considerably from 2016, with turnout increasing almost across the board (at least pre-coronavirus). In general, these newly activated voters were not left-wing activists or college-aged revolutionaries. They were instead “normal” Democrats who simply wanted to defeat Trump. And if they were told at a crucial moment that Sanders was being propped up by the same hostile foreign country that they also believed was responsible for installing Trump, it would not be surprising for this to significantly harm Sanders -- limiting his ability to grow his electoral coalition at precisely the moment when he needed to do so. Maybe it was a trap for Sanders that he could not escape: He couldn’t have challenged the Russia-gate narrative without alienating Democrats who for years had accepted it as absolute gospel. But those sections of the party were alienated from him anyway, and by echoing the standard partisan hoo-hah lines on “Russian interference,” he increasingly came across like any other run-of-the-mill Democratic politician -- erasing the distinctions that made him such an appealing novelty in 2016 when he vastly over-performed against Hillary Clinton. This time, he vastly under-performed against Biden. Sanders also created an absurd paradox where he was coerced into accepting the premise of an attack specially designed to destroy him. We’ll never know the exact political effect of this, or even who exactly launched it. All we can definitively know is that his encounter with Russia hysteria happened at the most inopportune possible moment, and immediately preceded his electoral implosion. Over the years, Russia-gate has racked up many casualties: the credibility of the media, the ability of Trump to govern effectively, and the national political psyche writ large -- just to name a few. Now we can throw another casualty onto the smoldering heap: Bernie Sanders’ presidential ambitions.Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

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Financial Summary October 23, 2020 01:37 ET

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Source:Federal Election Commission