Early lifeBernard Sanders was born on September 8, 1941, in the borough of . * * * * His father, Elias Ben Yehuda Sanders, was born in , , in (now part of Poland), to a Jewish family. In 1921, Elias immigrated to the United States, where he became a paint salesman.New York Passenger Lists, 1820–1957 immigration record: Eliasz Gitman, sailing from Antwerp, mother Jetti Gutman, citizenship in 1927 as Elias Sanders. Bernard's mother, Dorothy Sanders (), was born in New York City to Jewish immigrant parents from , in modern-day eastern Poland, and with roots in Russia. Sanders became interested in politics at an early age. He said, "A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932. He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including six million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important." * * * In the 1940s, many of his relatives in German-occupied Poland were murdered in the . * * * Sanders lived in . He attended elementary school at P.S. 197, where he won a borough championship on the basketball team. He attended in the afternoons, and celebrated his in 1954. His older brother, , said that during their childhood, the family never lacked for food or clothing, but major purchases, "like curtains or a rug," were not affordable. Sanders attended James Madison High School, where he was captain of the track team and took third place in the New York City indoor one-mile race. In high school, he lost his first election, finishing last out of three candidates for the student body presidency with a campaign that focused on aiding His father died a few years later in 1962, at the age of 57. Sanders studied at for a year in 1959–1960 before transferring to the and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1964. He has described himself as a mediocre college student because the classroom was "boring and irrelevant," while the community was more important to his education.
Political activismSanders later described his time in Chicago as "the major period of intellectual ferment in my life." While there, he joined the (the youth affiliate of the ) and was active in the as a student for the (CORE) and the (SNCC). Under his chairmanship, the university chapter of CORE merged with the university chapter of the SNCC. In January 1962, he went to a rally at the administration building to protest university president 's segregated campus housing policy. At the protest, Sanders said, "We feel it is an intolerable situation when Negro and white students of the university cannot live together in university-owned apartments". He and 32 other students then entered the building and camped outside the president's office. After weeks of sit-ins, Beadle and the university formed a commission to investigate discrimination. After further protests, the University of Chicago ended racial segregation in private university housing in the summer of 1963. , a member of the University of Chicago CORE chapter at the time and a fellow participant in the sit-ins, described Sanders in a 2016 interview 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." He once spent a day putting up fliers protesting , only to notice later that Chicago police had shadowed him and taken them all down. He attended the 1963 That summer, Sanders was fined $25 () for resisting arrest during a demonstration in Englewood against in Chicago's public schools. In addition to his civil rights activism during the 1960s and 1970s, Sanders was active in several peace and antiwar movements while attending the University of Chicago, becoming a member of the Student Peace Union. He applied for status during the Vietnam War; his application was eventually turned down, by which point he was too old to be drafted. Although he opposed the war, Sanders never criticized those who fought in it, and he has long been a strong supporter of veterans' benefits. He also was briefly an organizer with the while in Chicago. He also worked on the reelection campaign of Leon Despres, a prominent Chicago alderman who was opposed to mayor 's Democratic Party machine. Throughout his student years, Sanders read the works of many political authors, from , , and to and .
Professional history and early years in VermontAfter graduating from college, Sanders returned to New York City, where he worked various jobs, including Head Start teacher, aide, and carpenter. In 1968, he moved to , a town small in both area and population (88 residents at the 1970 census) within Vermont's rural region, because he had been "captivated by rural life." While there, he worked as a carpenter, filmmaker, and writer who created and sold "radical film strips" and other educational materials to schools. He also wrote several articles for the alternative publication ''The Vermont Freeman''. He lived in the area for several years before moving to the more populous Chittenden County in the mid-1970s. During his reelection campaign, he returned to the town to hold an event with voters and other candidates.
Liberty Union campaignsSanders began his electoral political career in 1971 as a member of the , which originated in the movement and the People's Party. He ran as the Liberty Union candidate for governor of Vermont in 1972 and 1976 and as a candidate in the special election for U.S. senator in 1972 and in the general election in 1974. In the 1974 senatorial race, he finished third (5,901 votes; 4%), behind 33-year-old Chittenden County state's attorney ( D; 70,629 votes; 49%) and two-term incumbent U.S. Representative Dick Mallary ( R; 66,223 votes; 46%). The 1976 campaign was the zenith of the Liberty Union's influence, with Sanders collecting 11,317 votes for governor and the party. His strong performance forced the down-ballot races for lieutenant governor and secretary of state to be decided by the state legislature when its vote total prevented either the or candidate for those offices from garnering a majority of votes. The campaign drained the finances and energy of the Liberty Union, however, and in October 1977, less than a year after the 1976 campaign concluded, he and the Liberty Union candidate for attorney general, Nancy Kaufman, announced their retirement from the party. During the Sanders served as one of three electors for the Socialist Workers Party in Vermont. After his resignation from the Liberty Union Party in 1977, Sanders worked as a writer and as the director of the nonprofit American People's Historical Society (APHS). While with the APHS, he produced a 30-minute documentary about American labor leader , who ran for president five times as the Socialist Party candidate.
Mayor of Burlington, Vermont (1981–1989)
CampaignsOn November 8, 1980, Sanders announced his candidacy for mayor. He formally announced his campaign on December 16 at a City Hall press conference. Sanders selected Linda Niedweske as his campaign manager. The Citizens Party attempted to nominate Greg Guma for mayor, but Guma declined, saying it would be "difficult to run against another progressive candidate". Sanders had been convinced to run for the mayoralty by Richard Sugarman, an Orthodox Jewish scholar at the , who had shown him a ward-by-ward breakdown of the 1976 Vermont gubernatorial election, in which Sanders had run, that showed him receiving 12% of the vote in Burlington despite only getting 6% statewide. Sanders initially won the mayoral election by 22 votes against Paquette, Bove, and McGrath, but the margin was later reduced to 10 votes. Paquette did not contest the results of the recount. Paquette's loss was attributed to his own shortcomings, as he did not campaign or promote his candidacy since both Sanders and Independent candidate Richard Bove were not seen as a serious challengers, as Sanders had not previously won an election. Paquette was also considered to have lost because he proposed an unpopular $0.65 per $100 raise in taxes that Sanders opposed. Sanders spent around $4,000 on his campaign. Sanders castigated the pro-development incumbent as an ally of prominent shopping center developer Antonio Pomerleau, while Paquette warned of ruin for Burlington if Sanders were elected. The Sanders campaign was bolstered by a wave of optimistic volunteers as well as a series of endorsements from university professors, social welfare agencies, and the police union. The result shocked the local political establishment. Sanders formed a coalition between independents and the Citizens Party. On December 3, 1982, he announced that he would seek reelection. On January 22, 1983, the Citizens Party voted unanimously to endorse Sanders, although Sanders ran as an independent. He was reelected, defeating Judith Stephany and James Gilson. Sanders initially considered not seeking a third term, but announced on December 5, 1984, that he would run. He formally launched his campaign on December 7, and was reelected. On December 1, 1986, Sanders, who had finished third in the 1986 Vermont gubernatorial election, announced that he would seek reelection to a fourth term as mayor of Burlington, despite close associates stating that he was tired of being mayor. Sanders defeated Democratic nominee Paul Lafayette in the election. He said he would not seek another mayoral term after the 1987 election: "eight years is enough and I think it is time for new leadership, which does exist within the coalition, to come up". Sanders did not run for a fifth term as mayor. He went on to lecture in political science at 's that year and at in 1991.
AdministrationDuring his mayoralty, Sanders called himself a and was so described in the press. During his first term, his supporters, including the first Citizens Party city councilor Terry Bouricius, formed the Progressive Coalition, the forerunner of the . The Progressives never held more than six seats on the 13-member city council, but they had enough to keep the council from overriding Sanders's vetoes. Under his leadership, Burlington balanced its city budget; attracted a minor league baseball team, the , then the Double-A affiliate of the ; became the first U.S. city to fund community-trust housing; and successfully sued the local franchise, thereby winning reduced rates for customers. As mayor, Sanders also led extensive downtown revitalization projects. One of his primary achievements was improving Burlington's waterfront. In 1981, he campaigned against the unpopular plans by Burlington developer Tony Pomerleau to convert the then-industrial waterfront property owned by the into expensive condominiums, hotels, and offices. He ran under the slogan "Burlington is not for sale" and successfully supported a plan that redeveloped the waterfront area into a district featuring housing, parks, and public spaces. Sanders was a consistent critic of U.S. foreign policy in throughout the 1980s. In 1985, Burlington City Hall hosted a foreign policy speech by . In his introduction, he praised Chomsky as "a very vocal and important voice in the wilderness of intellectual life in America" and said that he was "delighted to welcome a person who I think we're all very proud of." Sanders hosted and produced a program, ''Bernie Speaks with the Community'', from 1986 to 1988. He collaborated with 30 Vermont musicians to record a folk album, '' '', in 1987. That same year, '' '' ranked Sanders one of America's best mayors. , Burlington was regarded as one of the most livable cities in the United States. When Sanders left office in 1989, Bouricius, a member of the Burlington city council, said that Sanders had "changed the entire nature of politics in Burlington and also in the state of Vermont".
U.S. House of Representatives (1991–2007)
ElectionsIn 1988, incumbent Republican congressman decided to run for the U.S. Senate, vacating the House seat representing . Former Peter P. Smith (R) won the House election with a plurality, securing 41% of the vote. Sanders, who ran as an independent, placed second with 38% of the vote, while Democratic State Representative Paul N. Poirier placed third with 19%. Two years later, he ran for the seat again and defeated Smith by a margin of 56% to 39%. Sanders was the first independent elected to the U.S. House of Representatives since of won his second term in 1952, as well as the first socialist elected to the House since , from the , who won his last term in 1948. Sanders served as a representative from 1991 until he became a senator in 2007, winning reelection by large margins except during the 1994
LegislationDuring his first year in the House, Sanders often alienated allies and colleagues with his criticism of both political parties as working primarily on behalf of the wealthy. In 1991, he co-founded the , a group of mostly liberal Democrats that he chaired for its first eight years, while still refusing to join the Democratic Party or caucus. In 2005, '' '' called Sanders the "amendment king" for his ability to get more roll call amendments passed than any other congressman during the period since 1995, when Congress was entirely under Republican control. Being an independent allowed him to form coalitions across party lines.
Banking reformIn 1999, Sanders voted and advocated against rolling back the provisions that kept and commercial banks separate entities. He was a vocal critic of Federal Reserve Chair ; in June 2003, during a question-and-answer discussion, Sanders told him he was concerned that Greenspan was "way out of touch" and "that you see your major function in your position as the need to represent the wealthy and large corporations."
Cancer registriesConcerned by high breast cancer rates in Vermont, on February 7, 1992, Sanders sponsored the Cancer Registries Amendment Act to establish cancer registries to collect data on cancer. Senator Patrick Leahy introduced a companion bill in the Senate on October 2, 1992. The Senate bill was passed by the House on October 6 and signed into law by President on October 24, 1992.
Firearms and criminal justiceIn 1993, Sanders voted against the Brady Bill, which mandated federal background checks when buying guns and imposed a waiting period on firearm purchasers in the United States; the bill passed by a vote of 238–187. He voted against the bill four more times in the 1990s, explaining his Vermont constituents saw waiting-period mandates as more appropriately a state than federal matter. Sanders did vote for other gun-control measures. For example, in 1994, he voted for the "because it included the and the ban on certain assault weapons." He was nevertheless critical of the other parts of the bill. Although he acknowledged that "clearly, there are some people in our society who are horribly violent, who are deeply sick and , and clearly these people must be put behind bars in order to protect society from them," he maintained that governmental policies played a large part in "dooming tens of millions of young people to a future of bitterness, misery, hopelessness, drugs, crime, and violence" and argued that the repressive policies introduced by the bill were not addressing the causes of violence, saying, "we can create meaningful jobs, rebuilding our society, or we can build more jails." Sanders has at times favored stronger law enforcement and sentencing. In 1996, he voted against a bill that would have prohibited police from purchasing tanks and armored carriers. In 1998, he voted for a bill that would have increased minimum sentencing for possessing a gun while committing a federal crime to ten years in prison, including nonviolent crimes such as possession. In 2005, Sanders voted for the . The purpose of the act was to prevent firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for negligence when crimes have been committed with their products. , he said that he has since changed his position and would vote for legislation to defeat this bill.
Opposition to the Patriot ActSanders was a consistent critic of the . As a member of Congress, he voted against the original Patriot Act legislation. After its 357–66 passage in the House, he sponsored and voted for several subsequent amendments and acts attempting to curtail its effects and voted against each reauthorization. In June 2005, he proposed an amendment to limit Patriot Act provisions that allow the government to obtain individuals' library and book-buying records. The amendment passed the House by a bipartisan majority, but was removed on November4 of that year in House–Senate negotiations and never became law.
Opposition to the War in IraqSanders voted against the resolutions authorizing the use of force against Iraq in 1991 and 2002, and he opposed the . He voted for the 2001 that has been cited as the legal justification for controversial military actions since the September 11 attacks. He voted for a expressing support for troops at the outset of the invasion of Iraq, but gave a floor speech criticizing the partisan nature of the vote and the Bush administration's actions in the run-up to the war. Regarding the leak of CIA agent 's identity by a State Department official, he stated: "The revelation that the President authorized the release of classified information in order to discredit an Iraq war critic should tell every member of Congress that the time is now for a serious investigation of how we got into the war in Iraq and why Congress can no longer act as a rubber stamp for the President."
Trade policyIn February 2005, Sanders introduced a bill that would have withdrawn the permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status that had been extended to China in October 2000. He said to the House, "Anyone who takes an objective look at our trade policy with China must conclude that it is an absolute failure and needs to be fundamentally overhauled", citing the American jobs being lost to overseas competitors. His bill received 71 co-sponsors but was not sent to the floor for a vote.
U.S. Senate (2007–present)
ElectionsSanders entered the race for the U.S. Senate on April 21, 2005, after Senator Jim Jeffords announced that he would not seek a fourth term. , chairman of the , endorsed Sanders, a critical move as it meant that no Democrat running against him could expect to receive financial help from the party. He was also endorsed by and chairman and former Vermont governor . Dean said in May 2005 that he considered Sanders an ally who "votes with the Democrats 98% of the time." Then-Senator also campaigned for him in Vermont in March 2006. Sanders entered into an agreement with the Democratic Party, much as he had as a congressman, to be listed in their primary but to decline the nomination should he win, which he did. In the most expensive political campaign in Vermont's history, Sanders defeated businessman Rich Tarrant by an almost 2-to-1 margin. Many national media outlets projected him as the winner just after the polls closed, before any returns came in. He was reelected in 2012 with 71% of the vote, and in 2018 with 67% of the vote.
LegislationWhile a member of Congress, Sanders sponsored 15 concurrent resolutions and 15 Senate resolutions. Of those he co-sponsored, 218 became law. While he has consistently advocated for progressive causes, '' '' wrote that he has "rarely forged actual legislation or left a significant imprint on it." According to ''The New York Times'', "Big legislation largely eludes Mr. Sanders because his ideas are usually far to the left of the majority of the Senate… Mr. Sanders has largely found ways to press his agenda through appending small provisions to the larger bills of others." During his time in the Senate, he had lower legislative effectiveness than the average senator, as measured by the number of sponsored bills that passed and successful amendments made. Nevertheless, he has sponsored over 500 amendments to bills, many of which became law. The results of these amendments include a ban on imported goods made by child labor; $100 million in funding for community health centers; $10 million for an outreach program for servicemembers suffering from , traumatic brain injury, depression, panic attacks, and other mental disorders; a public database of senior officials seeking employment with defense contractors; and including autism treatment in the military healthcare program.
Finance and monetary policyIn 2008 and 2009, Sanders voted against the (TARP), a program to purchase toxic banking assets and provide loans to banks that were in free-fall. On February 4, 2009, he sponsored an amendment to ensure that TARP funds would not displace U.S. workers. The amendment passed and was added to the . Among his proposed financial reforms is auditing the Federal Reserve, which would reduce its independence in monetary policy deliberations; Federal Reserve officials say that "Audit the Fed" legislation would expose the Federal Reserve to undue political pressure from lawmakers who do not like its decisions. On December 10, 2010, Sanders delivered an –hour speech against the , which proposed extending the Bush-era tax rates. He argued that the legislation would favor the wealthiest Americans. "Enough is enough!… How many homes can you own?" he asked. Nevertheless, the bill passed the Senate with a strong majority and was signed into law a week later. In February 2011, published the speech as '' The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class'', with authorial proceeds going to Vermont nonprofit charitable organizations. In 2016, Sanders voted for the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, which included proposals for a reformed audit of the Federal Reserve System.
Foreign policyOn June 12, 2017, U.S. senators agreed to legislation imposing new sanctions on and . The bill was opposed only by Sanders and Republican . He supported the sanctions on Russia, but voted against the bill because he believed the sanctions could endanger the . In 2018, Sanders sponsored a bill and was joined by Senators ( D– CT) and Mike Lee ( R– UT) to invoke the 1973 War Powers Resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties and "millions more suffering from starvation and disease". After the in October 2018 (which was ordered by Saudi Arabian , according to multiple intelligence agencies), his bill attracted bipartisan co-sponsors and support, and the Senate passed it by a vote of 56–41. The bill passed the House in February 2019 by a 247–175 vote and President Trump vetoed it in March, saying: "This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future."
Health careIn mid-December 2009, Sanders successfully added a provision to the to fund $11 billion to , especially those in . The provision brought together Democrats on the left with Democrats from conservative, rural areas, helping to secure the 60 votes needed for passage. On May 4, 2017, in response to the House vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, he predicted "thousands of Americans would die" from no longer having access to health care. rated his statement "mostly true." In September 2017, Sanders along with 15 Senate co-sponsors submitted the Medicare for All bill, a plan. The bill covers vision and dental care, unlike Medicare. Some Republicans have called the bill "Berniecare" and "the latest Democratic push for socialized medicine and higher taxes." He responded that the Republican Party has no credibility on the issue of health care after voting for legislation that would take health insurance away from 32 million Americans under the . As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, Sanders has introduced legislation to reauthorize and strengthen the , which supports Meals on Wheels and other programs for seniors.
Immigration policyIn 2007, Sanders helped kill a bill introducing comprehensive immigration reform, arguing that its guest-worker program would depress wages for American workers. In 2010, he supported the , which would have provided a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the United States as minors. In 2013, he supported the Gang of Eight's comprehensive immigration reform bill after securing a $1.5 billion youth jobs program provision, which he argued would offset the harm of labor market competition with immigrants.
Income and wealth distributionIn April 2017, Sanders introduced a bill that would raise the for federal contract workers to $15 an hour, an increase over an earlier Democratic $12 an hour proposal. On May 9, 2018, he introduced the Workplace Democracy Act, a bill that would expand labor rights by making it easier for workers to join a union, ban right-to-work laws and some anti-union provisions of the , and outlaw some union-busting tactics. Announcing the legislation, he said, "If we are serious about reducing income and wealth inequality and rebuilding the middle class, we have got to substantially increase the number of union jobs in this country." Sanders opposed the 2018 United States federal budget proposed by the , calling it "a budget for the billionaire class, for Wall Street, for corporate CEOs, and for the wealthiest people in this country… nothing less than a massive transfer of wealth from working families, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor to the top 1%." After the November 2017 revelations from the and a recent report from the which says just three people ( , , and ) own more than the bottom half of the U.S. population, Sanders stated that "we must end global " and that "we need, in the United States and throughout the world, a tax system which is fair, progressive and transparent." On September 5, 2018, Sanders partnered with to introduce the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies (Stop ) Act, which would require large corporations to pay for the food stamps and Medicaid benefits that their employees receive, relieving the burden on taxpayers.
Veterans affairsOn June 9, 2014, Sanders sponsored the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 to reform the in the wake of the Veterans Health Administration scandal of 2014. He worked with Senator , who co-sponsored the bill. His bill was incorporated into the House version of the bill, which passed both chambers on July 31, 2014, and was signed into law by President Obama on August 7, 2014.
Supreme Court nomineesOn March 17, 2016, Sanders said he would support 's nomination to the Supreme Court, though he added, "there are some more progressive judges out there." He opposed 's nomination to the Court, saying that Gorsuch had "refused to answer legitimate questions." He also objected to Senate Republicans using the to "choke off debate and ram the nomination through the Senate." He voted against Gorsuch's confirmation as an .
Committee assignmentsAs an independent, Sanders worked out a deal with the Senate Democratic leadership in which he agreed to vote with the Democrats on all procedural matters unless the Democratic , , agreed that he need not (a request rarely made or granted). In return he was allowed to keep his seniority and received the committee seats that would have been available to him as a Democrat; in 2013–14 he was chairman of the (during the Veterans Health Administration scandal). Sanders became the on the Senate Budget Committee in 2015 and the chair in 2021; he previously chaired the for two years. Since 2017, he has been chair of the Senate Democratic Outreach Committee. He appointed economics professor infrastructure spending, and increase payments. , Sanders's committee assignments are as follows: * Committee on the Budget (Chairman) * Committee on Environment and Public Works ** Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety ** Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy ** Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure * Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ** Subcommittee on Energy ** Subcommittee on National Parks ** Subcommittee on Water and Power * ** Subcommittee on Children and Families ** Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging * United States Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Committee on Veterans' Affairs (former Chair)
Caucus membershipsSanders was only the third senator from Vermont to caucus with the Democrats, after Jeffords and Leahy. His caucusing with the Democrats gave them a 51–49 majority in the Senate during the 110th United States Congress, 110th Congress in 2007–08. The Democrats needed 51 seats to control the Senate because Vice President of the United States, Vice President Dick Cheney would likely have broken any List of tie-breaking votes cast by Vice Presidents of the United States, tie in favor of the Republicans. He is a member of the following caucuses: * * Democratic Caucus of the United States Senate * Afterschool Caucuses, United States Senate Afterschool Caucus
Approval ratingsPolling conducted in August 2011 by Public Policy Polling found that Sanders's approval rating was 67% and his disapproval rating 28%, making him then the third-most popular U.S. senator. Both the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, NHLA (National Hispanic Leadership Agenda) have given him 100% voting scores during his tenure in the Senate. In 2015, he was named one of the Top5 of ''The Forward'' 50. In a November 2015 Morning Consult poll, he reached an 83% approval rating among his constituents, making him the most popular U.S. senator. Fox News found him to have the highest net favorability at +28 points of any prominent politician included in its March 2017 poll. He ranked third in 2014 and first in both 2015 and 2016. In April 2017, a nationwide Harvard-Harris Poll found that Sanders had the highest favorability rating among the political figures included in the poll, a standing confirmed by subsequent polling.
2016 presidential campaignDuring the 2012 Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2012 Democratic presidential primaries, Sanders—dissatisfied with President Obama's "attempts to trade cuts for tax hikes"—reportedly considered running against him in the primaries. Sanders had previously suggested in 2011 that it was "a good idea" for someone to challenge Obama, and "got so close to running a primary challenge… that Senator had to intervene to stop him." In November 2013, Sanders suggested that Senator Elizabeth Warren could be president and that she might earn his backing if she ran. He added that if no progressive candidate ran, he might feel compelled to do so himself. In December 2014, Warren said she was not running. Sanders announced his intention to seek the 's nomination for president on April 30, 2015. Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, 2016, His campaign was officially launched on May 26 in Burlington. In his announcement Sanders said, "I don't believe that the men and women who defended American democracy fought to create a situation where billionaires own the political process," and made this a central idea throughout his campaign. Warren welcomed Sanders's entry into the race, saying, "I'm glad to see him get out there and give his version of what leadership in this country should be," but never endorsed him. Initially considered a long shot, Sanders won 23 Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2016, primaries and caucuses and around 46% of pledged delegates to 's 54%. His campaign was noted for its supporters' enthusiasm, as well as for rejecting large donations from corporations, the financial industry, and any associated Super PAC. Some of the (DNC) emails leaked to the public in June and July 2016 showed that the committee leadership had favored Clinton over him and had worked to help Clinton win the nomination. On July 12, 2016, Sanders formally endorsed Clinton Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, 2016, in her unsuccessful general election campaign against , while urging his supporters to continue the "political revolution" his campaign had begun.
Campaign methodsUnlike the other major candidates, Sanders did not pursue funding through a Super PAC or by wealthy donors, instead focusing on small-dollar donations. His presidential campaign raised $1.5 million within 24 hours of his official announcement. At the end of the year, the campaign had raised a total of $73 million from more than one million people, making 2.5 million donations, with an average donation of $27.16. The campaign reached 3.25 million donations by the end of January 2016, raising $20 million in that month alone. Sanders used social media to help his campaign gain momentum, posting content to online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and answering questions on Reddit. He gained a large grassroots organizational following online. A July 29, 2015, meetup organized online brought 100,000 supporters to more than 3,500 simultaneous events nationwide. To his surprise, Sanders's June 2015 campaign events drew overflow crowds across the country. When Clinton and Sanders made public appearances within days of each other in Des Moines, Iowa, he drew larger crowds, even though he had already made many stops around the state and Clinton's visit was her first in 2015. On July 1, 2015, his campaign stop in Madison, Wisconsin, drew the largest crowd of any 2016 presidential candidate to that date, with an estimated turnout of 10,000. Over the following weeks, he drew even larger crowds: 11,000 in Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix; 15,000 in Seattle; and 28,000 in Portland, Oregon.
Presidential debatesThe (DNC) announced in May 2015 that there would be six debates. Critics alleged that the small number of debates and the schedule, with half of the debates on Saturday or Sunday nights, were part of the DNC's deliberate attempt to protect Clinton, who was perceived as the front-runner. In February 2016, both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns agreed in principle to holding four more debates for a total of ten. Clinton dropped out of the tenth debate, scheduled to take place just before the 2016 California Democratic primary, California primary, citing a need to devote her time to making direct contact with California voters and preparing for the general election. Sanders expressed disappointment that Clinton canceled the debate before what he believed would be "the largest and most important primary in the presidential nominating process."
Polls and news coverageSome supporters raised concerns that publications such as ''The New York Times'' minimized coverage of the Sanders campaign in favor of other candidates, especially Trump and Clinton. The ''Times'' ombudsman reviewed her paper's coverage of the Sanders campaign and found that the ''Times'' "hasn't always taken it very seriously. The tone of some stories is regrettably dismissive, even mocking at times. Some of that is focused on the candidate's age, appearance and style, rather than what he has to say." She also found that the ''Timess coverage of Sanders's campaign was much scanter than its coverage of Trump's, though Trump's was also initially considered a long shot at that time, with 63 articles covering the Trump campaign and 14 covering Sanders's. A December 2015 report found that the three major networks—CBS, NBC, and American Broadcasting Company, ABC—had spent 234 minutes reporting on Trump and 10 minutes on Sanders, despite their similar polling results. The report noted that ''ABC World News Tonight'' had spent 81 minutes on Trump and less than one minute on Sanders during 2015. A study of media coverage in the 2016 election concluded that while Sanders received less coverage than his rival Hillary Clinton, the amount of coverage of Sanders during the election was largely consistent with his polling performance, except during 2015 when Sanders received coverage that far exceeded his standing in the polls. Studies concluded that the tone of media coverage of Sanders was more favorable than that of any other candidate, whereas his main opponent in the democratic primary, Hillary Clinton, received the most negative coverage of any candidate. All 2016 candidates received vastly less media coverage than Donald Trump, and the Democratic primary received substantially less coverage than the Republican primary. Amy Goodman of ''Democracy Now!'' noted that on March 15, Super Tuesday III, the speeches of Trump, Clinton, Marko Rubio, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz were broadcast in full. Sanders was in Phoenix, Arizona, on that date, speaking to a rally larger than any of the others, yet his speech was not mentioned, let alone broadcast. However, political scientist Rachel Bitecofer wrote in her 2018 book about the 2016 election that the Democratic primary was effectively over in terms of delegate count by mid-March 2016, but that the media promoted the narrative that the contest between Sanders and Clinton was "heating up" at that time. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted in May 2016 found Clinton and Trump (by then the presumptive Republican nominee) in a "dead heat," but the same poll found that if Sanders were the Democratic nominee, 53% of voters would support him to 39% for Trump. Clinton and Trump were the least popular likely candidates ever polled, while Sanders received a 43% positive, 36% negative rating. Polls showed that Democratic voters older than 50 preferred Clinton by a large margin but that those under 50 overwhelmingly favored Sanders. A 2017 analysis in ''Newsweek'' found that 12% of those who voted for Sanders in the Democratic primary voted for Trump in the general election.
DNC email leakIn July 2016, a leak of the Democratic National Committee's emails appeared to show DNC officials favoring Clinton over Sanders. Staff repeatedly discussed making his irreligious tendencies a potential campaign issue in southern states and questioned his party loyalty. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz called his campaign manager "an ASS" and "a damn liar." Speaking with Jake Tapper on CNN, Sanders responded to the leak, saying, "it is an outrage and sad that you would have people in important positions in the DNC trying to undermine my campaign. It goes without saying: the function of the DNC is to represent all of the candidates—to be fair and even-minded. But again, we discussed this many, many months ago, on this show, so what is revealed now is not a shock to me."
Primary loss and endorsement of Hillary ClintonAfter the final primary election, Clinton became the presumptive Democratic nominee. On July 12, Sanders formally List of Hillary Clinton presidential campaign political endorsements, 2016, endorsed Clinton. He said he would continue to work with the Democratic National Convention organizers to implement progressive positions. Sanders refused to formally concede before the convention. He spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention on July 25, during which he gave Clinton his full support. Some of his supporters attempted to protest Clinton's nomination and booed when Sanders called for party unity. He responded, "Our job is to do two things: to defeat Donald Trump and to elect Hillary Clinton… It is easy to boo, but it is harder to look your kids in the face if we are living under a Presidency of Donald Trump, Trump presidency." On November 8, in the general election, Sanders received almost 6% of the vote in 2016 United States presidential election in Vermont, Vermont, even though he was no longer a candidate. This was the highest share of a statewide presidential vote for a Write-in candidate, write-in Draft (politics), draft campaign in American history. He also received more votes in Vermont than Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party (United States), Libertarian candidate, and Jill Stein, the Green Party of the United States, Green candidate, combined. It was possible to vote for Sanders as a write-in candidate in 12 states, and exact totals of write-in votes for him were published in three of them: 2016 United States presidential election in California, California, 2016 United States presidential election in New Hampshire, New Hampshire, and 2016 United States presidential election in Vermont, Vermont. In those three states, he received 111,850 write-in votes, about 15% of the write-in votes nationwide, and less than 1% of total nationwide vote.
Post-election activitiesIn November 2016, Sanders's book ''Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In'' was released; upon its release, it was number three on The New York Times Best Seller list, ''The New York Times'' Best Seller list. The audiobook later received a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album. In February 2017, he began webcasting ''The Bernie Sanders Show'' on Facebook live, Facebook live streaming. , guests had included William Barber II, William Barber, Josh Fox, Jane Mayer, and Bill Nye. Polls taken in 2017 found him to be the most popular politician in the United States. In February 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections concluded that Russians had communicated false information during the primary campaigns to help Sanders and Stein and harm Clinton. Sanders rejected the investigation's conclusion, saying that he had seen no evidence that Russians had helped his campaign. Furthermore, he blamed the Clinton campaign for not doing more to prevent Russian interference. He later said that his campaign had taken action to prevent Russian meddling in the election and that a campaign staffer had alerted the Clinton campaign. '' '' noted that a Sanders campaign volunteer contacted a political action committee (PAC) that supported the Clinton campaign to report suspicious activities but that the Sanders campaign did not contact the Clinton campaign as such. In November 2018, the Sanders Institute and Yanis Varoufakis, co-founder of Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, DiEM25, launched Progressive International, an international organization uniting Progressivism, progressive activists and organizations "to mobilize people around the world to transform the global order and the institutions that shape it."
Influence on the Democratic PartyAnalysts have suggested that Sanders's campaign shifted both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party Left-wing politics, politically leftward. A new political action committee, political organization, Brand New Congress, was formed in April 2016 by former campaign staffers. It works to elect congressional representatives with platforms in line with Sanders. In August 2016, he formed Our Revolution, a 501(c)(4), political organization dedicated to educating voters about issues, getting people involved in the political process, and electing progressive candidates for local, state, and national office. Speaking on the PBS Newshour about the upcoming 2018 elections and discussing the main principles of the two major parties, Susan Page described the Republican Party as "Trump's party" and the Democratic Party as "Bernie Sanders's party," saying that "Sanders and his more progressive stance has really taken hold." Noting the increasing acceptance of his national single-payer health-care program, his $15-an-hour minimum wage stance, free college tuition and many of the other campaign platform issues he introduced, an April 2018 opinion article in ''The Week'' suggested, "Quietly but steadily, the Democratic Party is admitting that Sanders was right." In July 2016, a ''Slate (magazine), Slate'' article called the Democratic platform draft "a monument to his campaign," noting not only his call for a $15 minimum wage, but other campaign issues, such as Social Security expansion, a carbon tax, Wall Street reform, opposition to the death penalty, and a "reasoned pathway for future legalization" of marijuana.
2020 presidential campaignOn February 19, 2019, Sanders announced that he would seek the Democratic Party's 2020 nomination for president. He had declined the Vermont Democratic Party nomination for U.S. Senate in 2006, 2012, and 2018, which caused an unsuccessful legal challenge to his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Along with his 2019 campaign announcement, he said he would abide by a new Democratic Party rule for presidential candidates and that he would affirm his membership in that party. On March 5, 2019, he signed a formal statement, known as a "loyalty pledge," that he is a member of the Democratic Party and will serve as a Democrat if elected. News reports noted that the day before, he had signed paperwork to run as an independent for reelection to his Senate seat in 2024. Sanders's campaign manager was Faiz Shakir. The campaign's national co-chairs were Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen (businessman), Ben Cohen, Representative , Our Revolution President Nina Turner, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.
Campaign methodsGiven the high national profile that Sanders maintained since his 2016 campaign, NPR described him as "no longer an underdog" when he announced his 2020 campaign. Using the large email list it built during the 2016 campaign, the 2020 campaign recruited more than one million volunteers within weeks of its launch. It enlisted several former NowThis News employees to produce professional videos for wide social media distribution, live-streamed various forums to its millions of social media followers, and launched a podcast and smartphone app for grassroots organizing.
FundraisingSanders's 2020 campaign employed many of the same methods as its 2016 counterpart, eschewing a Super PAC and relying predominantly on small-dollar contributions. According to Federal Election Commission filings, the Sanders campaign had raised the most money in the 2020 Democratic field as of June 2019, including money left over from his 2018 Senate and 2016 presidential races. In September 2019, the Sanders campaign became the fastest in U.S. history to reach one million donors. On October 1, 2019, the campaign announced it had raised $25.3 million in the year's third quarter, with an average donation of $18. It was the largest quarterly sum raised by any Democratic candidate. The campaign raised $34.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2019.
Polls and news coverageSanders steadily polled between 15 and 20% on most national surveys between May and September 2019, according to the RealClearPolitics average. This placed him in a decisive second-place behind until Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris caught up in July. From mid-February 2020 to the start of March, Sanders polled in first place in the Democratic primary ahead of Joe Biden and was described by the press as the party's presidential front-runner. According to a RealClearPolitics analysis, Sanders received the third-most mentions on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC between January and August 2019, trailing only and Kamala Harris. Biden, however, received twice as many mentions as Sanders and Harris. Mentions of Sanders on ''ABC World News Tonight'' found him in second place, though also trailing Biden by a large margin. Online mentions "reflect a slightly more balanced picture," with both Sanders and Elizabeth Warren running "neck-and-neck" with Biden.
Forums and other appearancesOn April 6, 2019, Sanders participated in a Fox News town hall that attracted more than 2.55 million viewers. His decision to appear on Fox was controversial given the 's decision not to allow Fox to host any of its debates. His appearance saw an increase of Fox News viewers by 24% overall and 40% in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic, surpassing the ratings of all other Democratic presidential candidate town halls that year. As of September 2019, the town hall had received more than 1.5 million views on YouTube. On August 6, Sanders appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Some praised Rogan for "hosting a pragmatic discussion" while others "seemed rather stunned by Sanders's decision to appear on the show at all." After the podcast, Rogan became a top-trending Twitter topic. After interviewing him, Rogan said, "I am not right-wing… I've interviewed right-wing people. I am 100% left-wing… Bernie Sanders made a ton of sense to me and I would 100% vote for him." As of October 2019, the podcast had received more than ten million views on YouTube.
Presidential debatesIn December 2018, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced the preliminary schedule for 12 official DNC-sanctioned debates, set to begin in June 2019, with six in 2019 and the remaining six during the first four months of 2020. During the July and September debates, commentators described Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as having a "non-aggression pact," staking out similar progressive positions in contrast to the more conservative candidates. In the October 15 debate, his first appearance since his heart attack, debate coach Todd Graham gave Sanders's performance an A, his highest rating of all the candidates. CNN hosted the first 2020 debate in January with six candidates remaining. Co-moderator Abby Phillip questioned Sanders and Warren about an allegation Warren had made that he had privately told her that a woman could not defeat Donald Trump. Phillip asked Sanders, "Senator Sanders, CNN reported yesterday, and Senator Warren confirmed in a statement, that in 2018 you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election. Why did you say that?" Ignoring Sanders's strong denial, Phillip asked Warren, "What did you think when Bernie Sanders told you that a woman couldn't become president?" In an interview after the debate, Sanders called it ludicrous to believe that he would doubt a woman's ability to win the presidency and noted that a woman already ''had'' won the national United States presidential election#Popular vote, popular vote, saying, "After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016."
Suspension of campaignSanders announced that he was suspending his campaign on April 8, 2020. He stated that he would remain on the ballot in the remaining states and continue to accumulate delegates with the goal of influencing the Democratic Party's platform. On April 14 Sanders endorsed Biden. Biden responded, "I think that your endorsement means a great deal. It means a great deal to me. I think people are going to be surprised that we are apart on some issues but we're awfully close on a whole bunch of others. I'm going to need you—not just to win the campaign, but to govern."
Political positionsA self-described "democratic socialist", * * * Sanders is a who admires the of social democracy and has been a proponent of . He advocates for universal healthcare, universal and , paid , as well as tuition-free . He supports lowering the cost of drugs by reforming patent laws to allow cheaper generic versions to be sold in the U.S. He supported the , though he said it did not go far enough. In November 2015, he gave a speech at Georgetown University about his view of democratic socialism, including its place in the policies of presidents and Lyndon B. Johnson. In defining what ''democratic socialism'' means to him, Sanders said: "I don't believe government should take over the grocery store down the street or own the means of production, but I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a decent standard of living and that their incomes should go up, not down. I do believe in private companies that thrive and invest and grow in America, companies that create jobs here, rather than companies that are shutting down in America and increasing their profits by exploiting low-wage labor abroad." Based on his positions and votes throughout his career, many commentators consider his political platform based on tax-funded social benefits and not on social ownership of the means of production. Some have described Sanders's political philosophy as "Welfare capitalism, welfarism" or "social democracy" but not ''democratic socialism'' defined as "an attempt to create a property-free, socialist society." Some members of various U.S. socialist parties and organizations have said that Sanders is a reformer of capitalism, not a socialist. Others distinguish among ''socialism'', ''social democracy'', and ''democratic socialism'', and describe his philosophy as extending from such existing Modern liberalism in the United States, liberal programs in the U.S. as and Medicare (United States), Medicare, and more consistent with the social democracy found in much of Europe, especially the Nordic countries. and Thomas Frank have described Sanders as "a er." Other observers, such as Lane Kenworthy and Bhaskar Sunkara, suggest that his views are more closely related to those of social democrats. * * * *
Climate changeSanders views global warming as a serious problem, and advocates bold action to reverse its effects. He calls for substantial investment in infrastructure, with energy efficiency, sustainability, and job creation as prominent goals. He considers Climate change and national security, climate change the greatest threat to national security. He said that family planning can help fight climate change. He opposed the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on the grounds that, like the Keystone XL Pipeline, it "will have a significant impact on our climate." In 2019, he announced his support for legislation, and joined Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Earl Blumenauer in proposing legislation that would declare climate change a national and international emergency.
Economic issuesSanders focuses on economic issues such as Income inequality in the United States, income and Wealth inequality in the United States, wealth inequality, Poverty in the United States, poverty, raising the minimum wage, universal healthcare, cancelling all student debt, making public colleges and universities tuition-free by Robin Hood tax, taxing financial transactions, and expanding benefits by eliminating the cap on the payroll tax on all incomes above $250,000. He has become a prominent supporter of laws requiring companies to give their workers , sick leave, and List of statutory minimum employment leave by country, vacation time, noting that such laws have been adopted by nearly all other developed countries. He also supports legislation that would make it easier for workers to join or form a Labor unions in the United States, trade union. He was against the , and has called for comprehensive financial reforms, such as breaking up "too big to fail" financial institutions, restoring , reforming the Federal Reserve Bank, and allowing the United States Postal Service, Post Office to offer basic financial services in economically marginalized communities. Believing greater emphasis is needed on labor rights and environmental concerns when negotiating international trade agreements, Sanders voted against and has long spoken against NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR with China. He has called them a "disaster for the American worker," saying that they have resulted in American corporations moving abroad. He also opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he says was "written by corporate America and the pharmaceutical industry and Wall Street." On May 1, 2019, he tweeted: "Since the United States–China Relations Act of 2000, China trade deal I voted against, America has lost over three million manufacturing jobs. It's wrong to pretend that China isn't one of our major economic competitors."
Foreign relationsOn foreign policy, Sanders supports reducing while pursuing more and . He opposed funding Nicaraguan rebels, known as contras, in the CIA activities in Nicaragua, CIA's Nicaragua v. United States, covert war against Nicaragua's leftist government. He opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq and has criticized a number of policies instituted during the War on Terror, particularly that of Mass surveillance in the United States, mass surveillance and the Patriot Act, USA Patriot Act. He criticized Israel's bellicose actions during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, 2014 Gaza war and U.S. involvement in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. On November 15, 2015, in response to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)'s November 2015 Paris attacks, attacks in Paris, he cautioned against Islamophobia and said, "We gotta be tough, not stupid" in the war against ISIL, adding that the U.S. should continue to welcome Syrian refugees. He criticized the January 2020 2020 Baghdad International Airport airstrike, drone assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, calling it a dangerous 2019–20 Persian Gulf crisis, escalation of tensions that could lead to an expensive war. Sanders supports Palestinians' rights and has criticized Israel on several occasions. In 2020, he described the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as a platform for bigotry and said he would not attend its conference. He condemned Trump's decision to United States recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel, recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying, "It would dramatically undermine the prospects for an Israeli–Palestinian peace process, Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, and severely, perhaps irreparably, damage the United States' ability to broker that peace." Addressing Westminster College (Missouri), Westminster College in a September 2017 speech, Sanders laid out a foreign policy plan for greater international collaboration, adherence to U.S.-led international agreements such as the Paris Agreement and the Iran nuclear deal framework, and promoting human rights and democratic ideals. He emphasized the consequences associated with global economic inequality and climate change, and urged reining in the use of U.S. military power, saying it "must always be a last resort." He also criticized Foreign policy of the United States#Criticism, U.S. support for "murderous regimes" during the Cold War, such as those in Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran, Military dictatorship of Chile (1973–90), Chile and Revolutionary Government Junta of El Salvador, El Salvador, and said that those actions continue to make the U.S. less safe. He also spoke critically of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections and the way President Trump has handled the crisis. He does not consider Turkey a U.S. ally, and condemned the 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria, Turkish military offensive against U.S.-aligned Rojava, Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria.
Gun lawsSanders supports closing the "gun show loophole," Assault weapons legislation in the United States, banning assault weapons, and passing and enforcing Universal background check, universal federal background checks for gun purchases. In 1990, he was supported by the National Rifle Association in his bid to become a U.S. Representative in exchange for opposing both the competing campaign of Peter Smith, who had reversed his stance on firearm restrictions, and waiting periods for handgun purchases. In 1993, while a U.S. Representative, he voted against the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (which established background checks and wait periods), and in 2005 voted for legislation that gave gun manufacturers legal immunity against claims of negligence, but he has since said that he would support repealing that law. In 1996, he voted against additional funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for research on issues related to firearms, but in 2016, he called for an increase in CDC funding for the study of gun violence.
Social issuesOn social issues, Sanders has long taken liberal stances. He considers himself a Feminism, feminist, is pro-choice on abortion, and opposes defunding Planned Parenthood. He has denounced institutional racism and called for criminal justice reform to reduce the incarceration in the United States, number of people in prison, advocates a crackdown on Police brutality in the United States, police brutality, and supports abolishing Private prisons in the United States, private, for-profit prisons and the Capital punishment in the United States, death penalty. He supports Black Lives Matter. He also supports legalizing marijuana at the federal level. He has advocated for greater democratic participation by citizens, campaign finance reform, and a constitutional amendment or judicial decision that would overturn ''Citizens United v. FEC''.
LGBTQ rightsHe advocated for LGBT rights in the United States, LGBT rights as Burlington mayor in 1983 and voted against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. In 2006, he indicated that the time was not right for legalizing same-sex marriage nationally, describing the issue as one that should be handled at the state level; but then in 2009, he supported the Marriage Equality Act (Vermont), legalizing same-sex marriage in Vermont, which was enacted that year.
Trump administrationSanders criticized President Trump for appointing multiple billionaires to his cabinet. He criticized Trump's rolling back President Obama's Clean Power Plan, noting the scientifically reported effect on climate change of human activity and citing Trump's calling those reports a hoax. He called for caution on the Syrian Civil War, saying, "It's easier to get into a war than out of one." In 2017, he promised to defeat "Trump and Trumpism and the Republican right-wing ideology". Sanders gave an online reply to Trump's January 2018 State of the Union address in which he called Trump "compulsively dishonest" and criticized him for initiating "a looming immigration crisis" by ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He voiced concern about Trump's failure to mention the finding that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election and "will likely interfere in the 2018 midterms we will be holding… Unless you have a very special relationship with Mr. Putin." On January 6, 2021, Trump supporters 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, stormed the United States Capitol. Sanders commented: "[Trump] has made it clear that he will do anything to remain in power – including insurrection and inciting violence [and he] will go down in history as the worst and most dangerous president in history."
Party affiliationsBorn into a -voting family, Sanders was first introduced to political activism when his brother joined the Young Democrats of America and campaigned for Adlai Stevenson II in 1956. Sanders joined Vermont's in 1971 and was a candidate for several offices, never coming close to winning election. He became party chairman, but quit in 1977 to become an independent. In 1980, he served as an elector for the Socialist Workers Party. In 1981, Sanders ran as an independent for mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and defeated the Democratic incumbent; he was reelected three times. Although an independent, he endorsed Democratic presidential candidates Walter Mondale in 1984 United States presidential election, 1984 and Jesse Jackson in Jesse Jackson presidential campaign, 1988, 1988. His endorsement of Mondale was lukewarm (telling reporters that "if you go around saying that Mondale would be a great president, you would be a liar and a hypocrite"), but he supported Jackson enthusiastically. ''The Washington Post'' reported that the Jackson campaign helped inspire Sanders to work more closely with the Democratic Party. Sanders attended the 1983 conference of the Socialist Party USA where he gave a speech. Sanders first ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1988 United States House of Representatives election in Vermont, 1988 and for the U.S. Senate in while refusing to join the party, and continues to caucus with Democrats in the Senate. Some conservative southern House Democrats initially barred him from the caucus as they believed that allowing a self-described socialist to join would harm their electoral prospects. He soon came to work constructively with Democrats, voting with the party over 90% of the time during his tenure in Congress. Starting with his 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders's announcements suggested that not only was he running as a Democrat, but that he would run as a Democrat in future elections. When challenged by Clinton about his party commitment, he said, "Of course I am a Democrat and running for the Democratic nomination." Since he remained a senator elected as an independent, his U.S. Senate website and press materials continued to refer to him as an independent during the campaign and upon his return to the Senate.Se
Personal lifeIn 1963, Sanders and Deborah Shiling Messing, whom he met in college, volunteered for several months on the Israeli kibbutz Sha'ar HaAmakim. They married in 1964 and bought a summer home in Vermont; they had no children and divorced in 1966. His son (and only biological child), Levi Sanders, was born in 1969 to then-girlfriend Susan Campbell Mott. On May 28, 1988, Sanders married Jane Sanders, Jane O'Meara Driscoll (), who later became president of Burlington College, in Burlington, Vermont. The day after their wedding, the couple visited the Soviet Union as part of an official delegation in his capacity as mayor. They own a row house in Capitol Hill, a house in Burlington's New North End neighborhood, and a lakefront summer home in North Hero. He considers Jane's three children—Dave Driscoll (born 1975), Carina Driscoll (born 1974), and Heather Titus (; 1971)—to be his own. He also has seven grandchildren, three (including one who was adopted) through his son Levi and four through his stepchildren. Sanders's elder brother, Bernie Sanders told CNN, "I owe my brother an enormous amount. It was my brother who actually introduced me to a lot of my ideas."
HealthOn October 1, 2019, Sanders was hospitalized after experiencing chest pains at a campaign event in Las Vegas. His campaign announced the next day that a blockage had been found in one coronary artery and two stents inserted. Scheduled campaign events and appearances were canceled until further notice. Two days later his campaign released a statement that he had been diagnosed with a myocardial infarction, heart attack. He was released from the hospital the same day. The statement included the following from Sanders's doctors:
After presenting to an outside facility with chest pain, Sen. Sanders was diagnosed with a myocardial infarction. He was immediately transferred to Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center. The senator was stable upon arrival and taken immediately to the cardiac catheterization laboratory, at which time two stents were placed in a blocked coronary artery in a timely fashion. All other arteries were normal. His hospital course was uneventful with good expected progress. He was discharged with instructions to follow up with his personal physician.A few days after returning home, Sanders addressed media outside his home and said he had experienced fatigue and chest discomfort for a month or two before the incident; he expressed regret for not seeking medical assessment sooner: "I was dumb." Sanders made his first national appearance after his heart attack on October 15 at the Democratic debate, at which he said, "I'm healthy, I'm feeling great." When asked how he would reassure voters about his health and ability to take on the duties of the presidency, he said, "We are going to be mounting a vigorous campaign all over this country. That is how I think I can reassure the American people." It was noted that he was "lively and sharp at the debate." In December 2019, three months after the heart attack, Sanders released letters from three physicians, Attending Physician of the United States Congress, Attending Physician of Congress Brian P. Monahan and two cardiologists, who declared Sanders healthy and recovered from his heart condition.
Honors and awardsOn December 4, 2015, Sanders won ''Time (magazine), Time''s 2015 Time Person of the Year, Person of the Year readers' poll with 10.2% of the vote but did not receive the editorial board's award. On March 20, 2016, he was given an honorary Coast Salish name, , by Deborah Parker in Seattle to honor his focus on Native American issues during his presidential campaign. On May 30, 2017, Sanders received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from .
In popular cultureIn December 1987, during his tenure as mayor of Burlington, Sanders recorded a folk album, '' '', with 30 Vermont musicians. As he was not a skilled singer, he performed his vocals in a talking blues style. He appeared in a cameo role in the 1988 comedy-drama film ''Sweet Hearts Dance'', playing a man who distributes candy to young trick-or-treaters. In 1999, he acted in the film ''My X-Girlfriend's Wedding Reception'', playing Rabbi Manny Shevitz. In this role he mourned the Brooklyn Dodgers' move to Los Angeles, reflecting Sanders's own upbringing in Brooklyn. On February 6, 2016, he was a guest star alongside Larry David on ''Saturday Night Live'', playing a Polish immigrant on a steamship that was sinking near the Statue of Liberty.
Internet cultureOwing to his two high-profile campaigns in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries, Sanders and his campaigns have generated many Internet memes and other online content. The Facebook group Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash, where users can submit memes focused around Sanders, received significant attention in the 2016 primary season due to the at-the-time unique idea of a meme community focused entirely on a politician. During the 2020 primary season, a still from a fundraising video in which Sanders tells the viewers "I am once again asking for your financial support" went Viral phenomenon, viral online, with numerous edits made of the frame. The day before Super Tuesday, 2020, Super Tuesday 2020, a video of the Twitch streamer Neekolul wearing a Bernie 2020 shirt and lip-syncing the song "OK boomer, Oki Doki Boomer" also went viral. In 2021, a frame from the inauguration of Joe Biden showing Sanders seated in a folding chair wearing patterned mittens and a jacket reminiscent of the one in the "I am once again asking" meme Bernie Sanders mittens meme, went viral, with the image captioned or edited into other images.
Religion, heritage, and valuesAs Sanders described his upbringing as an American Jews, American Jew in a 2016 speech: his father generally attended synagogue only on Yom Kippur; he attended American public schools, public schools while his mother "chafed" at his yeshiva Sunday schooling at a ; and their religious observances were mostly limited to Passover Passover Seder, seders with their neighbors. Larry Sanders said of their parents, "They were very pleased to be Jews, but didn't have a strong belief in God in Judaism, God." Bernie had a at the historic Kingsway Jewish Center in In 1963, in cooperation with the Labor Zionism, Labor Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair, Sanders and his first wife Kibbutz volunteer, volunteered at Sha'ar HaAmakim, a kibbutz in northern Israel. His motivation for the trip was as much socialistic as it was Zionistic. As mayor of Burlington, Sanders allowed a Chabad public menorah to be placed at city hall, an action the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU contested. He publicly inaugurated the Hanukkah Menorah (Hanukkah), menorah and performed the Jewish religious ritual of Hanukkah music#Hanukkah blessings, blessing Hanukkah candles. His early and strong support played a significant role in the now widespread public menorah celebrations around the globe. When asked about his Jewish heritage, Sanders has said that he is "proud to be Jewish." Sanders rarely speaks about religion. He describes himself as "not particularly religious" and "not actively involved" with organized religion. A press package issued by his office states his religion as Jewish. He has said he believes in God, but not necessarily in a traditional way: "I think everyone believes in God in their own ways," he said. "To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together." In October 2015, on the late-night talk show ''Jimmy Kimmel Live!'', Kimmel asked him, "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?" Sanders replied: In 2016, he disclosed that he had "very strong religious and spiritual feelings," adding, "My spirituality is that we are all in this together and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me." Sanders does not regularly attend synagogue, and he does not refrain from working on Rosh Hashanah, as observant Jews do. He has attended Yahrtzait, yahrzeit observances in memory of the deceased, for the father of a friend, and in 2015 attended a Tashlikh, an atonement ceremony, with the mayor of Lynchburg on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah. According to his close friend Richard Sugarman, a professor of religious studies at the , Sanders's Jewish identity is "certainly more ethnic and cultural than religious." Deborah Dash Moore, a Judaic scholar at the University of Michigan, has said that Sanders has a particular type of "ethnic Jewishness that is out of style these days among American Jews." His wife is Roman Catholic, and he has often expressed admiration for Pope Francis, saying that "the leader of the Catholic Church is raising profound issues. It is important that we listen to what he has said." He has said he feels very close to Francis's economic teachings, describing him as "incredibly smart and brave." In April 2016, he accepted an invitation from Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, an aide close to Francis, to speak at a Vatican conference on economic and environmental issues. While at the Vatican City, Vatican, he met briefly with Francis.
Publications* With Huck Gutman, * In * * * *
See also* American Left * History of the socialist movement in the United States * List of elected socialist mayors in the United States * List of Jewish members of the United States Congress * List of people who received an electoral vote in the United States Electoral College * ''Spintharus berniesandersi'' * Third-party members of the United States House of Representatives
Further reading* * * *