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Presidential Candidate Profile: Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders was the second Democrat to announce their candidacy for the 2016 presidential election. Read on to learn more about Sanders and his plans for the nation if elected.

 

 

Bernie Sanders was born on September 8, 1941, in Brooklyn, New York to Eli and Dorothy Sanders. Both of which were Jewish, his father being an immigrant who witnessed the nightmarish atrocities of Holocaust-era Poland. Sanders and his family never found wealth. They stayed in a small apartment growing up, supported by their father’s dwindling paint salesman efforts. This background was the spark for much of Sanders’s viewpoints later on.

Sanders attended Brooklyn College for one year studying psychology and then transferred to the University of Chicago. It was here where Sanders developed a love for social justice by partaking in the Civil Rights Movement. He often showed his support by being a vocal demonstrator, exemplified in joining the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Sanders graduated in 1964 from Chicago with a Bachelors of Arts in political science. Sanders’s political career wasn’t immediate. After college he embarked on an Israeli kibbutz and moved to Vermont upon his return to the states.  He spent the following years working several different jobs including a researcher, writer, and carpenter.

 

 

Sanders entered politics in 1971when he became part of the Vermont’s Liberty Union party (LU), a political group fueled by anti-war agenda. During this time Sanders attempted to run for an LU Senate position as well as governernor. He lost both races significantly, resigned from the LU, and worked as a writer for the American People’s Historical Society. It wasn’t until 1981 that Sanders had made his first major political imprint. It was here where he ran for mayor of Burlington, Vermont and defeated six-term Democratic incumbent Gordon Paquette by a slim margin.

 

 

In 1990 Sanders found himself ascending the political ladder when he was elected to the House of Representatives. His identity as a politcian soon began to form when he vocally spoke out against use of force in Iraq in the nineties and early 2000s. During this time he fervently expressed his distaste for the way funding occurred within the political landscape. This was primarily reflected in his criticisms of then Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Sanders was elected to the Senate in 2006. It was here where he started to further push his political agenda. Sanders, a major proponent of the global warming ramifications, collaborated with Senator Barbara Boxer on the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act of 2007. He also worked on a number of other reformations including a push to make election campaign finances more transparent (DISCLOSE Act), a call for universal health care, and staunch defender for marriage equality.

 

 

All of the aforementioned political forays saw Sanders in the position of an Independent, although he started collaborating with the Democratic party during his Senate term. It wasn’t until his presidential candidate announcement on April 30, 2015 that he would officially align himself with the Democratic party. This move was an especially strategic one, seeing as though Independents rarely permeate the dominating “Democrat v. Republican” sphere of U.S. politics. However, as a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist,” Sanders is anything but a typical Democrat. Much of his political ideologies are inspired by the Scandinavian model where free market economy philosophies are blended with welfare state politics.

 

 

Sanders believes in a revitalized American politcal system. This coincides with a number of different ideologies. First and foremost he exudes a strong disapproval towards modern campaign funding techiques. He believes that politics is far too reliant on big business and is corrupted by money in the process. He sees this as a major probelm in American politics and blames the lack of attention towards it as an politcally uneducated public. Thusly, Sanders wishes to spark a “political revolution” through his campaign in which more citizens are aware of this process and use their vote to combat it. Another solution to this issue is publicly funded elections where social elities are given no opportunities to fund candidates. Sanders sees himself as a champion of the middle class, something he perceives as a fading part of the American economy.

Bernie Sanders will most definitely appeal to those looking for a new direction for American. His propositions for the country are fresh and unique. However, he may be attacked as overly radical left-winger with policies that stand as deviations from traditional American politics. Also, expect Republicans to use the “socialist” stance as a weapon against him. But his major concern at this point is Hillary Clinton who may, in fact, overshadow his presence in the race. In order to win Sanders must rely on a high-exposure campaign accompanied by a relatable, concrete agenda.

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