Bernie Sanders on Principles & Values

Democratic primary challenger; Independent VT Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)


Trump has documentedly lied thousands of times as President

Q: Why do you think more people are not in support of impeachment & what else can you do?

Sanders: We have a president who is a pathological liar. We have a president who is running the most corrupt administration in the modern history of this country. And we have a president who is a fraud, because during his campaign he told working people one thing, and he ended up doing something else. I believe, and I will personally be doing this in the coming weeks and months, is making the case that we have a president who has sold out the working families of this country, who wants to cut social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, after he promised he would not do that, and who has documentedly lied thousands of times since he is president. And the case to be made is, yeah, certainly, I disagree with Trump on virtually all of his policies, but what conservatives, I think, understand, is that we cannot have a president with that temperament, who is dishonoring the presidency of the United States.

Source: December Democratic primary debate on impeaching Trump , Dec 19, 2019

Trump think he is above the law, but nobody is

Q: Chants of "Lock Her Up" are still heard at President Trump's rallies today [referring to Hillary Clinton in 2016]. Now some opponents of the president are turning the same slogan against him. They've chanted "Lock Him Up" at two of your campaign events recently. Should Democrats discourage this? Or are you OK with it?

SANDERS: Well, I think the people of this country are catching on to the degree that this president thinks he is above the law. And what the American people are saying: Nobody is above the law. And I think what the American people are also saying is, in fact, that if this president did break the law, he should be prosecuted like any other individual who breaks the law. But at the end of the day, what we need to do is to bring our people together not just in opposition to Trump. The initial question that somebody raised here was that we are a divided nation. You know what? I kind of reject that.

Source: November Democratic primary debate, on impeaching Trump , Nov 20, 2019

I hold major rallies despite age & health

Q: You're 78 years old and you just had a heart attack. How do you reassure Democratic voters that you're up to the stress of the presidency?

SANDERS: Let me invite you all to a major rally we're having in Queens, New York. We're going to be mounting a vigorous campaign all over this country. That is how I think I can reassure the American people.

Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Trump a corrupt president, worthy of impeachment

Trump is the most corrupt president in the history of this country. It's not just that he obstructed justice. I think that the House will find him worthy of impeachment because of the emoluments clause. This is a president who is enriching himself while using the Oval Office. The idea that we have a President who is prepared to hold back national security money to one of our allies in order to get dirt on a presidential candidate is beyond comprehension.
Source: October Democratic Primary debate on impeaching Trump , Oct 15, 2019

End divisiveness; unite people with progressive agenda

We have got to end the hatred that Trump is fostering on our people, the divisiveness, trying to divide us up by the color of our skin or where we were born or our sexual orientation or our religion, and there is no job that I would undertake with more passion than bringing our people together around an agenda that works for every man, woman, and child in this country rather than the corporate elite and the 1%. A progressive agenda that stands for all is the way that we transform th
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Democratic socialism means like Canada, not Venezuela

Q: What are the main differences between your kind of socialism and the one being imposed in Venezuela by Nicolas Maduro?

SANDERS: To equate what goes on in Venezuela with what I believe is extremely unfair. I'll tell you what I believe in terms of democratic socialism. I agree with goes on in Canada and in Scandinavia, guaranteeing health care to all people as a human right. I believe that the US should not be the only major country on earth not to provide paid family and medical leave. I believe that every worker in this country deserves a living wage & that we expand the trade union movement. I happen to believe also that what, to me, democratic socialism means, is we deal with an issue we do not discuss enough--You've got a handful of billionaires controlling what goes on in Wall Street, the insurance companies and in the media. Maybe, just maybe, what we should be doing is creating an economy that works for all of us, not 1 percent. That's my understanding of democratic socialism.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Americans want "extreme" Democratic-Socialist solutions

Q [to Hickenlooper]: You ran a Facebook ad that warned "socialism is not the answer." The ad also said, "don't let extremes give Trump four more years." Are you saying that Senator Sanders is too extreme to beat President Trump?

Gov. HICKENLOOPER: I'm saying [that socialist ideas on healthcare & the Green New Deal] are a disaster at the ballot box.

Q: Senator Sanders, you are a proud Democratic-Socialist, how do you respond?

SANDERS: Every credible poll that I have seen has me beating Trump-- including the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania. And the reason we are going to defeat Trump, is that he is a fraud and a phony and we're going to expose him for what he is. The American people want to have a living wage; I've helped lead that effort. The American people want to pay reasonable prices for prescription drugs; I've helped lead the effort for that as well.

HICKENLOOPER: If we're going to force Americans to make these radical changes, they're not going to go along.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Economic rights are human rights: that's FDR's "socialism"

Q: Some voters are uncomfortable with the term "socialism."

A: I have got to do more work in explaining what that means. FDR said economic rights are human rights: the right to a job that pays you a living wage, the right to health care, the right to education. And we have expanded that to say that means a clean environment. What Democratic socialism means to me is guaranteeing all of our people in the wealthiest country in the history of the world a decent retirement, a decent standard of living.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview series , Jun 23, 2019

Democratic socialism opposes concentration of wealth & power

I have spent my whole life fighting against authoritarianism. What I believe, when we talk about Democratic socialism, is we have to deal with the massive levels of income and wealth inequality in this country. Is it acceptable that three families in America now own more wealth than the bottom half of the American people? Is it acceptable that the top 1% owns more wealth than the bottom 92%, or that 49% of all new income goes to the top 1%?
Source: CNN State of the Union 2019 interview , Jun 2, 2019

Mueller Report: Russia bought pro-Bernie social media ads

The Internet Research Agency (IRA), based in St. Petersburg, Russia, carried out a social media campaign designed to provoke and amplify political and social discord in the US.

The IRA's Twitter operations created individual U.S. personas, and also operated a "hot network" of automated Twitter accounts, that enabled the IRA to amplify existing content on Twitter.

The IRA continuously posted original content to the accounts while also communicating with U.S. Twitter users directly (through public tweeting or Twitter's private messaging). The IRA used many of these accounts to attempt to influence U.S. audiences on the election.

The IRA provoked reactions from users and the media. Multiple IRA-posted tweets gained popularity. U.S. media outlets also quoted tweets from IRA-controlled accounts and attributed them to the reactions of real U.S. persons. Individualized accounts included @MissouriNewsUS (an account with 3,800 followers that posted pro-Sanders and anti-Clinton material).

Source: The Mueller Report, Vol. i, pp. 4 & 26-7 , Apr 23, 2019

Government should address income inequality, not support it

There is something fundamentally wrong when we have three families owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society. Something wrong when the top 1% owns more wealth than the bottom 92%. Something very wrong when 49% of all new income today is going to the top 1%. We should have a government that represents working families and not just the 1% and powerful corporations.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

Mainstream media prefers "realistic" candidates over Bernie

Bernie Sanders faces a strong obstacle in the mainstream media (MSM). At first, they largely ignored his 2016 campaign. When he was propelled to the public consciousness thanks to online media and word-of-mouth, the Bernie's policy platform with failed Communist (i.e. not democratic-socialist) regimes. Bernie will doubtlessly face similar dishonest framing in the 2020 Democratic primaries. The talking heads will proclaim that only a "realistic" candidates can appeal to centrists and independents.

Trump beat the MSM smear machine through radical lies. Sanders can do likewise but through radical honesty.

Source: International Policy Digest on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jan 23, 2019

All real change comes from grassroots activism

In 2016, I stated that the future of our country was dependent upon our willingness to make a political revolution. I stressed that real change never occurs from the top down. It always happens from the bottom up. No real change in American history--not the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the gay rights movement, the environmental movement, nor any other movement for social justice--has ever succeeded without grassroots activism, without millions of people engaged in the struggle for justice.

That's what I said when I ran for president. That's what I believe now. That's what I've been working to accomplish over the last several years. At a time of massive and growing income and wealth inequality, as our nation moves closer and closer to an oligarchic form of society, we need an unprecedented grassroots political movement to stand up to the greed of the billionaire class and the politicians they own. And the good news is, we're making progress.

Source: Where We Go From Here, by Bernie Sanders, p.1 , Nov 27, 2018

Learn from Gingrich in 1994: propose bold Democratic agenda

Q: You are calling for Democrats, who are now going to be in the majority in the House, to launch a kind of new Contract with America [including] raising the minimum wage, making public universities tuition free, & expanding Social Security.

SANDERS: You pick up on what I wrote in a Washington Post op-ed: back in 1994 Newt Gingrich--who I disagree with on everything--had a bold right wing agenda, and I think we should learn from that. This is what the American people want. And we should do it. Poll after poll shows that the American people understand that our current dysfunctional health care system needs fundamental change; that we have to deal with a broken criminal justice system; with immigration reform. The question is whether Congress has the guts to stand up to the big money interests who want more tax breaks for the rich, who want to cut Social Security. Or we stand up for the shrinking middle class and we demand legislation which represents the working families of this country.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Nov 25, 2018

Change direction of Democrats to grassroots & bottom-up

Q: You're out on a unity tour you're on with the DNC Chairman. What is the discussion in the Democratic Party about its direction?

SANDERS: What is clear to anyone who looks at where the Democratic Party today is, that the model of the Democratic Party is failing. We have a Republican president who was the most unpopular candidate in modern history. Republicans control the House, the Senate, 2/3 of governor's chairs. And in the last eight years, they have picked up 900 legislative seats. Clearly, the Democratic Party has got to change. And, in my view, what it has got to become is a grassroots party, a party which makes decisions from the bottom on up, a party which is more dependent on small donations than large donations, a party that speaks to the pain of the working class in this country. And when we do that, you're going to see voter turnout swell. You're going to see people coming in and running for office. You're going to see Democrats regain control of Congress.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2017 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Apr 23, 2017

Support progressives running nationally and locally

Q: You have a massive e-mail list that helped your presidential campaign. Are you going to give your list to the Democratic National Committee?

SANDERS: We are going to do everything that we can to transform the Democratic Party into a party that stands up for working families. And we have and will strongly support those candidates who are going to take on the issues of income and wealth inequality. We are going to work to support progressives who are running for Congress and even who are running for city council.

Q: That sounded like you're going to keep your e-mail list to support the candidates that you think are progressives, and you're not going to give it to the DNC. Did I interpret that incorrectly?

SANDERS: You know, President Trump has more millionaires in his Cabinet and his administration than any president in history. So, what we are going to do is support those candidates who have the guts to stand up to the 1 percent and fight for the 99 percent.

Source: CNN "State of the Union" 2017 interview by Jake Tapper , Feb 26, 2017

2016 campaign moved a generation of Millennials to the left

When we began our race for the presidency in April 2015, we were considered by the political establishment and the media to be a "fringe" campaign, something not to be taken seriously. When our campaign finally came to a close in July 2016, it turned out that the pundits had got it wrong--big-time. We had made history and run one of the most consequential campaigns in the modern history of the country--a campaign that would, in a very profound way, change America.

We received more than 13 million votes in primaries and caucuses throughout the country. We won twenty-two states. Importantly, in virtually every state, we won a strong majority of younger people--the future of America.

One poll response: "He's not moving a party to the left. He's moving a generation to the left." This campaign was never just about electing a president of the United States--as enormously important as that was. This campaign was about transforming America.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 1-3 , Nov 15, 2016

Greatness about how we treat most vulnerable, not wealth

The U.S. is the richest country in the history of the world. We are a nation of extraordinary wealth. If we judge a nation simply by how many millionaires it has, America would be number one--bar none. But that is not how we should judge a nation.

A great nation is judged not by how many millionaires and billionaires it has, or by the size of its military budget. It is not judged by the greed of its largest corporations. It is judged by how well it treats its weakest and most vulnerable citizens. A truly great nation is one that is filled with compassion and solidarity.

By that measure, we are not number one. In fact, the United States lags behind virtually every other major country on earth in terms of our social safety net and in how well we provide for the weak and the vulnerable.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 404 , Nov 15, 2016

Our political revolution must continue

The fight for economic, social, racial, and environmental justice can never stop. The fight to defeat the greed of the billionaire class must continue.

I hope very much that my campaign for president will not be endlessly discussed from an HISTORICAL perspective, looking back. I hope that my efforts, and the incredibly hard work of hundreds of thousands of grassroots volunteers in every state in our country, will be seen as a turning point in American politics & blueprint for the future.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 445 , Nov 15, 2016

Our revolution will transform America

Together, my friends, we have begun a political revolution to transform America and that revolution--our revolution--continues. Election days come and go. But the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent--a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice--that struggle continues. And I look forward to being part of that struggle with you.
Source: Speech at 2016 Democratic National Convention , Jul 26, 2016

It is not unrealistic to fight for middle class

CLINTON: I am a progressive who gets things done. The root of that word is progress. I've heard Senator Sanders' comments, and it's caused me to wonder who's left in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Under his definition, President Obama is not progressive because he took donations from Wall Street and Vice President Biden is not progressive because he supported Keystone.

Q: Senator Sanders, have you established a list of what it means to be a progressive that is unrealistic?

SANDERS: Not at all. The reality is that we have one of lowest voter turnouts of any major country because people have given up on the political process. The reality is there are trillions of dollars going from the middle class to the top 1 percent. The reality is we have a corrupt campaign finance system which separates the people's needs from what Congress is doing. What we have to do is wage a political revolution where we demand the government represent us and not just campaign contributors.

Source: MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire , Feb 4, 2016

I walk the walk of progressivism, with no Super PAC

CLINTON: It is fair to say, Senator, that in your definition, as you being the self-proclaimed gatekeeper for progressivism, I don't know anyone else who fits that definition, but I know a lot of really hard fighting progressives in the Democratic party who have stood up time, and time again against special interests, against the powerful on behalf of those who are left behind and left out. And, that's what we ought to be celebrating. Let's talk about what we would do as President, and Commander in Chief to make sure the progress continues into the future.

SANDERS: We should not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. I am proud to be the only candidate who does not have a Super PAC, who's not raising huge sums of money from Wall Street and special interests. Never believed it would happen that we have raised 3.5 million individual contributions, averaging $27 dollars a piece. That is what the political revolution means.

Source: MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire , Feb 4, 2016

I am longest serving Independent but caucus with Dems

Q: Senator Sanders, How can you lead the Democratic Party when you have not been a member of the Democratic Party until recently?

SANDERS: It is true. I am the longest- serving independent in the history of the United States Congress. Vermont sent me to Washington as an independent. On the other hand, when I was in the House for 16 years, I caucused with the Democrats. In the Senate for nine years , I caucused with the Democrats. I do want to see major changes in the Democratic Party. I want to see working people and young people come into the party in a way that doesn't exist now. I want a 50-state strategy so the Democratic Party is not just the party of 25 states.

CLINTON: You know, the person who first put out the idea of a 50-state party strategy is former Governor Howard Dean, who is with us tonight.

Source: MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire , Feb 4, 2016

Too late for establishment politics: we need a revolution

My dad came to this country at 17 from Poland. Didn't have any money, couldn't speak English, he died pretty young. It would have been beyond his wildest dreams to see his son running for president. I'm running because I believe it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. We need a political revolution where millions of people stand up and say loudly and clearly that our government belongs to all of us and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors.
Source: MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire , Feb 4, 2016

Progressives don't have SuperPACs with $15M from Wall Street

Q: A lot of your supporters expressed their belief that Hillary Clinton was not a progressive, when she said this after the Iowa Caucuses:

CLINTON [videotape]: It is rare that we have the opportunity we do now to have a real contest of ideas. To really think hard about what the Democratic Party stands for and what we want the future of our country to look like if we do our part to build it. I am a progressive who gets things done for people.

SANDERS: Secretary Clinton has a long and distinguished public career. I served with her in the Senate. We worked together on some issues. But there are other issues where I think she is just not progressive. I do not know any progressive who has a superPAC and takes $15 million from Wall Street. Secretary Clinton voted to go to war in Iraq. Secretary Clinton has been a supporter of various trade policies, NAFTA and PNTR with China. For a long time, Secretary Clinton was talking about the benefits of the Keystone pipeline. That's just not progressive.

Source: 2016 N.H. CNN Democratic Town Hall , Feb 3, 2016

Agrees with Hillary, but more fervently, on many issues

Where do Hillary and Bernie agree on the outcome, except for the level of fervency of pushing the issue, or recency in coming to the current stance?
Source: Bernie vs. Hillary On The Issues, by Jesse Gordon , Jan 30, 2016

Political revolution: millions of people vs.few billionaires

Q: How would you not be a 3rd term of Pres. Obama?

SANDERS: I believe that the power of corporate America, the power of Wall Street, the power of the drug companies, the power of the corporate media is so great that the only way we really transform America and do the things that the middle class and working class desperately need is through a political revolution when millions of people begin to come together and stand up and say: Our government is going to work for all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.

WEBB: I got a great deal of admiration and affection for Senator Sanders, but Bernie, I don't think the revolution's going to come.

Q: What do you mean by "revolution"?

SANDERS: What I mean is that we need to have one of the larger voter turnouts in the world, not one of the lowest. We need to raise public consciousness. We need the American people to know what's going on in Washington in a way that today they do not know.

Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 13, 2015

I do not have a Super PAC nor raise money from billionaires

I think that there is profound frustration all over this country with establishment politics. I am the only candidate running for president who is not a billionaire, who has raised substantial sums of money, and I do not have a super PAC. I am not raising money from millionaires and billionaires, and in fact, tonight, in terms of what a political revolution is about, there are 4,000 house parties--100,000 people in this country--watching this debate tonight who want real change in this country.
Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 13, 2015

Social change cannot occur without mass participation

Q: How will you get Congress to support your agenda? They blocked President Obama on a lot. Your agenda is even further left.

SANDERS: This is what you do. You say to the speaker of the House, "Hey, you don't want to negotiate with me? I think we should make public colleges and universities tuition free. And I think we should pay for a tax on Wall Street speculation." Now, do I think the Republican speaker of the House will agree with me? No, I don't think so. But I think he'll have to look out the window and see a million young people demonstrating and marching in Washington.

Q: Barack Obama said this.

SANDERS: Here's the difference. The president actually thought that he could sit down with the Republican leadership and work out some fair compromises. The truth is, number one, they never had any intention to compromise. But number two, you have to be prepared to mobilize people to take on these big money interests.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 11, 2015

I'm not a capitalist; I'm a democratic socialist

Q: You joked that when people call you a socialist, you say, "Yes, I'm going to make everybody wear the same color pajamas." And then the other day you said, "Don't use the word 'Socialist.' I'm going to say I'm a progressive." Are you pushing back on that idea?

SANDERS: No, not at all. When one of your Republican colleagues gets on the show, do you say, "Are you a capitalist?" Have you ever referred to them as capitalists?

Q: Yeah. Are you a capitalist?

SANDERS: No. I'm a democratic socialist.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 11, 2015

Abortion & gay marriage secondary to addressing inequality

Q: You went to Liberty University, a fundamentalist Christian university. One of the things you said was that the audience, you knew you had a disagreement on the question of abortion and on same-sex marriage, but you asked them to put those disagreements aside and focus on the priority, which is the inequities in the economic system.

SANDERS: Well, look, I am pro-choice. I am strongly in favor of gay marriage. And I know that, at Liberty University, people there have honest disagreements with me on that issue. But what I said, look, at a time when we have a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality, when almost all of the new income and wealth in this country is going to the top 1 percent, when we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on Earth, can we not get together and talk about creating an economy that works for all of us, and not just millionaires and billionaires?

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 interview by Bob Schieffer , Sep 27, 2015

What's wrong with modeling U.S. on socialist Scandinavia?

Q: Is it really possible for someone who calls himself a socialist to be elected president?

SANDERS: Well, so long as we know what democratic socialism is. And if we know that in countries, in Scandinavia, like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, they are very democratic countries, obviously. The voter turnout is a lot higher than it is in the US. In those countries, health care is the right of all people. And in those countries, college education is free. In those countries, retirement benefits, childcare are stronger than in the US.

Q: I can hear the Republican attack ad right now: "He wants American to look more like Scandinavia."

SANDERS: That's right. And what's wrong with that? What's wrong when you have more income and wealth equality? What's wrong when they have a stronger middle class in many ways than we do, higher minimum wage than we do, and they are stronger on the environment? We do a lot in our country, which is good, but we can learn from other countries.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 3, 2015

Registered Independent; calls himself a democratic socialist

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is challenging front-runner Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democrat party presidential nomination. Though he is a registered Independent and is proud to call himself a democratic socialist, he will run as a Democrat.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Jewish immigrants from Poland, Sanders, 73, spent one year at Brooklyn College, graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964 and then moved to Vermont.

Source: Forbes Magazine "2016 Candidates Want You to Know" series , Apr 30, 2015

My form of democratic socialism is not Communism

Q: You identify as a democratic socialist. Polling suggests that Americans are not so bothered by the term, but that our media has a really hard time with it.

A: In Vermont, people understand exactly what I mean. They don't believe that democratic socialism is akin to North Korea communism. When I talk about democratic socialism, what I'm saying is that I do not want to see the US significantly dominated by a handful of billionaire families controlling the economic & political life of the country. That I do believe that in a democratic, civilized society, all people are entitled to health care as a right, all people are entitled to quality education as a right, all people are entitled to decent jobs and a decent income, and that we need a government which represents ordinary Americans and not just the wealthy and the powerful. Very sadly, the corporate media ignores some of the huge accomplishments that have taken place in Scandinavia, with a long history of democratic socialism.

Source: The Nation 2014 interview of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 6, 2014

Corporate interests fund the Tea Party

I find it beyond comprehension that the Democrats now lose by a significant number the votes of white working-class people. How can that be? It happens because the Democrats have not been strong in taking on corporate America.

The bad news is that people like the Koch brothers can spend huge sums of money to create groups like the Tea Party. The good news is that, once people understand the right-wing extremist ideology of the Koch brothers, they are not going to go along with their policies. In terms of fundamental economic issues: job creation, a high minimum wage, progressive taxation, affordable college--the vast majority of people are on our side.

One of the goals that I would have, politically, is to reach out to the working-class element of the Tea Party & explain to them exactly who is funding their organization--and explain to them that, on virtually every issue, the Koch brothers and the other funders of the Tea Party are way out of step with what ordinary people want and need

Source: The Nation 2014 interview of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 6, 2014

Revolution will not start at "progressive bastion" Harvard

In the fall of 1989, I taught at the Institute for Policy Studies at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. They offer a sensible program which brings real-life politicians (not infrequently folks who have lost their last election) to the campus to give students a sense of real-life politics. I taught a course on third-party politics which was well attended. Jane took some courses at the Kennedy School and 2 of our children, Carina and David, attended the local public schools. I went to more football games that fall than I had in 20 years, and became addicted to the cinnamon raisin buns at Au Bon Pain at Harvard Square. I know that conservatives worry a great deal about Harvard. They see it as a bastion of progressive thought, the brain trust for the revolution. Trust me. They can stop worrying. Harvard has many wonderful attributes, but the revolution will not start at Harvard University.
Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p. 83 , Jun 17, 1997

GOP convinces middle class to vote for interests of the rich

There are only so many millionaire voters, and Republicans know that their agenda--the agenda of rich folks and corporate leaders, and what the Republicans are paid to deliver--is not going to win points among middle-class and working people--the people who determine the outcome of elections. Slashing Medicaid and allowing corporations to pollute our drinking water are not the kind of achievements that can be celebrated in 30-second campaign ads for all the world to see.

Their real ideology--not the sham philosophy of "states' rights" or "personal responsibility" created for public consumption--reflects the interests of a tiny and very privileged segment of the population. Republicans are faced with the dilemma: How to convince working people and the middle class to vote AGAINST their own best interests. Or, equally important, how to get them not to vote at all. Further, how to deflect attention AWAY from the issues that affect the vast majority of people and around which they could UNITE.

Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p.128-9 , Jun 17, 1997

Progressive movement fights for social justice

As an Independent, functioning outside the 2-party system, I have worked hard throughout my political career to bring people together into the progressive movement in the fight for social justice.

In 1991, I was the only Independent in Congress, the only person outside the 2-party system. I decided to try to bring together the most progressive members so that we could more effectively fight for economic justice.

We formed the Progressive Caucus. Over the years the group grew slowly and steadily, so that by the time our largest battle took place--against Newt Gingrich and his reactionary "Contract with America"--we were 52 members strong. I was elected chairman of the Caucus in 1991 and have held that position since.

Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p.152-4 , Jun 17, 1997

Bernie Sanders on Past Campaigns

1990s: Nominated as "Socialist" for Profile in Courage award

[In Congress in the 1990s], Bernie Sanders had been reelected for years as a socialist--in a (then) generally Republican state. At a time when vagueness and opportunism in politics seemed to be the order of the day, here was an elected official who succeeded by being totally transparent and relentless about his values. "Socialist" was the dirtiest word in politics, yet he won because people saw that he came by his values honestly, regardless of whether you agreed politically.

As an obscure Vermont congressman in the 1990s, Sanders often worked across the aisle, collaborating with Republicans when possible, and using his position as the only independent in Congress to drive dialogue on issues like trade. The lesson here, which Sanders himself would demonstrate some twenty years later when he ran for president, was that bipartisanship and appeal to independents was not the same thing as ideological centrism.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 30-1 , Feb 12, 2019

1981: elected as independent mayor of Burlington

In late fall 1980, "Run for mayor of Burlington as an Independent". Starting in the low-income and working-class neighborhoods, I knocked on as many doors as possible. The most important political work that can be done is making door-to-door contact, speaking directly to your constituents and answering their questions. We need a lot more grassroots politics in America.

The big breakthrough for us came late in the campaign, when we won the endorsement of the Burlington Patrolman's Association. They backed us because I promised to listen to the concerns of cops on the beat and to open serious negotiations with their union.

Election Day--March 3, 1981--was a day I will never forget. We won the working-class wards in the city by two to one. We lost in the wealthier neighborhoods. By the time the last ballot was counted, I had won by fourteen votes. So stunning was the upset that nine years later the state's largest newspaper would still be referring to it as "the story of the decade."

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 30-1 , Nov 15, 2016

DNC tilted primary in favor of Hillary Clinton

On July 26, 2016, in a prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, I endorsed Hillary Clinton and urged my supporters and the American people to elect her as president.

The now-famous DNC emails that we later learned were stolen by hackers working for a Russian intelligence agency had been released at the start of the convention. The content of these emails, which were not a shock to me, showed that the leadership of the DNC had tilted the playing field during the primary in favor of Hillary Clinton's campaign. As a result, the chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was forced to resign. Many of my delegate, who were not great fans of Hillary Clinton or the democratic establishment to begin with, were further enraged.

Source: Where We Go From Here, by B.Sanders, p. 19-20, on 2016 DNC , Jul 26, 2016

8 million contributions to his campaign, averaging $27

Let me thank the two and a half million Americans who helped fund our campaign with an unprecedented 8 million individual campaign contributions--averaging $27 apiece. Let me thank the 13 million Americans who voted for the political revolution, giving us the 1,846 pledged delegates here tonight--46 percent of the total.
Source: Where We Go From Here, by Bernie Sanders, p. 23-4 , Jul 26, 2016

2011: Primary challenge keeps Obama from moving to the right

Q: You have done more than just criticize President Obama; you called for a primary challenge:

SANDERS [audio recording] One of the reasons the president has been able to move so far to the right is that there is no primary opposition to him. It would do this country a good deal of service if people started contrasting what is a progressive agenda as opposed to what Obama is doing.

Q: That was you in 2011. Do you still think Obama should've been primaried?

SANDERS: We have a right to have differences of opinion. For example, I have disagreed with him very strongly on his views on trade. He is for the TPP. I am against the TPP. He has several years ago continued Bush's tax breaks for the very wealthiest people on this country. I was on the floor for 8-and-a-half hours in disagreement with him. Overall, I think the president has done an outstanding job. And the idea that there can be a primary where different ideas get floated and debated, I don't think that that is terrible.

Source: MSNBC/Telemundo Democratic Town Hall in Las Vegas , Feb 18, 2016

American people are tired of hearing about Hillary's email

The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails. I go around the country, talk to a whole lot of people. Middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we're going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens Union. Enough of the e-mails. Let's talk about the real issues.
Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 13, 2015

Lost campaigns in 1972, 1974 & 1988 before winning in 1990

If At First You Don't Succeed... The CQ Roll Call members database reveals that 18 members of the 113th Congress mounted multiple unsuccessful campaigns before finally winning a seat.
Source: Cong. Quarterly Rollcall mag. on 2014 Vermont Senate race , Mar 20, 2014

Current administration has numbed American outrage

The word outrage has lost its meaning! What does outrage mean when we have an administration that took us to war under false premises? What does outrage mean at a time when the United States has the most unfair gap between the rich and the poor of any industrialized nation? What does outrage mean when the White House and the Republican leadership are some of the few people in the entire world who do not understand the profound dangers of global warming?
Source: 2005 Take Back America Conference , Jun 3, 2005

1971: Ran for Vermont Senate seat under Liberty Union Party

Vermont's senior senator, Winston Prouty, had died on September 10, 1971. The small Liberty Union Party was not exactly overflowing with individuals who were interested in running. So, full of enthusiasm for what I believed was right and just, I raised my hand and offered my views on education, the economy, and the war in Vietnam. An hour later, I had won the nomination as the Liberty Union candidate for the open Senate seat. Talk about grassroots democracy.

When I say "won" I am being very overly generous to myself. I was chosen as the candidate unanimously because there was no competition. By day's end, I had embarked on the first political campaign of my life. Despite such inauspicious beginnings, I enjoyed the experience of running for office very much.

Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p. 15-6 , Jun 17, 1997

First Independent elected to Congress in 40 years

Our campaign slogan was, "Making History in VT." That's what we were about to do--and everyone knew it. Our support was amazingly strong all over the state, and we carried 13 of VT's 14 counties.

We had come such a long way, against such incredible odds. 20 years before, I had run for statewide office and had received 2% of the vote. As I climbed onto the platform for my victory statement, I was now the congressman-elect from the state of VT, the first Independent elected to Congress in 40 years. It was almost incomprehensible.

There were radio, TV, and newspaper interviews to do all across the country. I was a true novelty: the only Independent in Congress AND a socialist.

Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p. 88 , Jun 17, 1997

Bernie Sanders on Personal Background

Brother elected in England as Green Party member

My brother, Larry, six years older than me, introduced me to politics and a whole lot else. He has played an enormously important role in my life, and I am forever grateful for his love, counsel, and overall wisdom. For the last fifty years he has lived in Oxford, England, where he raised his family and worked as a social worker. Ten years ago he was elected to the Oxfordshire County Council as a candidate of the Green Party, and he was reelected for a second term. He is now active in efforts to maintain a strong National Health Service system in the UK.

While my parents were not particularly political, they always voted Democratic, as did virtually the entire

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 8-9 , Nov 15, 2016

I am very proud to be Jewish; it is much of what I am

Q: There was an article in the Detroit News saying that you keep your Judaism in the background, and that's disappointing some Jewish leaders. Is that intentional?

SANDERS: No. I am very proud to be Jewish, and being Jewish is so much of what I am. Look, my father's family was wiped out by Hitler in the Holocaust. I know about what crazy and radical, and extremist politics mean. I learned that lesson as a tiny, tiny child when my mother would take me shopping, and we would see people working in stores who had numbers on their arms because they were in Hitler's concentration camp. I am very proud of being Jewish, and that is an essential part of who I am as a human being.

Source: 2016 Democratic primary debate in Flint, Michigan , Mar 6, 2016

My spirituality: we are all in this together

Q: What do you say to voters who see faith as a guiding principle in their lives, and want it to be a guiding principle for this country?

SANDERS: It's a guiding principle in my life, absolutely, it is. You know, everybody practices religion in a different way. To me, I would not be here tonight, I would not be running for president of the United States if I did not have very strong religious and spiritual feelings. I believe that, as a human being, the pain that one person feels, if we have children who are hungry in America, if we have elderly people who can't afford their prescription drugs, you know what, that impacts you, that impacts me. And I worry very much about a society where some people spiritually say, "it doesn't matter to me, I got it, I don't care about other people." So 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. That's my very strong spiritual feeling.

Source: 2016 N.H. CNN Democratic Town Hall , Feb 3, 2016

High school athlete: basketball and long-distance runner

Q: Your brother was on CNN today. He said that back in the day you were a great athlete. Is that true? I'm not saying I don't believe it to be true...

SANDERS: You know families exaggerate a little bit. I was a very good athlete. I wouldn't say I was a great athlete. I was a pretty good basketball player. My elementary school in Brooklyn won the borough championship. Hardly worth mentioning, but we did, yes. And, yes, I did take third place in the New York City indoor one mile race. I was a very good long-distance runner. I would say not a great runner, but I was captain of my track team and won a number of cross-country meets and certainly won a whole lot of races. So very good, not great.

Q: If you were elected president, you would be the oldest person elected president. You're going to release your medical records?

SANDERS: Absolutely. I have been blessed with good health and good endurance. And there's nothing in the medical records that is going to surprise anybody.

Source: 2016 CNN Town Hall Democratic presidential primary debate , Jan 25, 2016

Father immigrated to Brooklyn at 17, penniless & no English

Q: Your brother said, "boy, would our parents be proud of the success that Bernie has had." What would your parents think if they saw you now?

SANDERS: They wouldn't believe it. I mean, my dad came from Poland at the age of 17 without a nickel in his pocket, couldn't speak English and he never made a whole lot of money. And my brother and I grew up in a three-and-a-half-room rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, New York. And we never had a whole lot of money. This would be so unimaginable--the fact that I'm a United States senator would've been beyond really anything that they would have thought possible. The fact that I am running for president, it's certainly something that I don't think they ever believed would've happened.

Source: 2016 CNN Town Hall Democratic presidential primary debate , Jan 25, 2016

Family immigrated from Poland in WWII, escaping Holocaust

Q: Bernie's Jewish?

A: Yes. His father was a Jewish immigrant from Poland, where the Nazis decimated 90% of the Jewish population during the Holocaust. Bernie's father and uncle immigrated to the US and the rest of their family died in Europe. Bernie has said that his Jewish heritage showed him the importance of politics at a young age: "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 6 million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important."

Q: Since he's Jewish, is Bernie also Israeli?

A: No. Despite false reports to the contrary, Bernie is only a citizen of the United States.

Q: Well, Bernie's Jewish and his family died in the Holocaust. He must support Israel over the Palestinians, right?

A: No. Bernie doesn't "support" Israel over the Palestinians. He believes both have the right to exist, in a two-state solution.

Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues" , Sep 5, 2015

Bernie Sanders on Voting Record

Voted with Democratic Party 94.1% of 324 votes.

Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT), was scored by the Washington Post on the percentage of votes on which a lawmaker agrees with the position taken by a majority of his or her party members. The scores do not include missed votes. Their summary:
Voted with Democratic Party 94.1% of 324 votes.
Overall, Democrats voted with their party 88.4% of the time, and Republicans voted with their party 81.7% of the time (votes Jan. 8 through Sept. 8, 2007).
Source: Washington Post, "Congress Votes Database" on 2008 election , Sep 8, 2007

Voted YES on confirming of Sonia Sotomayor to Supreme Court.

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee kicked off the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. In her opening statement, Judge Sotomayor pledged a "fidelity to the law:"
"In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law--it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress's intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand."
Reference: Supreme Court Nomination; Bill PN506 ; vote number 2009-S262 on Aug 6, 2009

Religious affiliation: Jewish.

Sanders : religious affiliation:

The Adherents.com website is an independent project and is not supported by or affiliated with any organization (academic, religious, or otherwise).

What’s an adherent?

The most common definition used in broad compilations of statistical data is somebody who claims to belong to or worship in a religion. This is the self-identification method of determining who is an adherent of what religion, and it is the method used in most national surveys and polls.

Such factors as religious service attendance, belief, practice, familiarity with doctrine, belief in certain creeds, etc., may be important to sociologists, religious leaders, and others. But these are measures of religiosity and are usually not used academically to define a person’s membership in a particular religion. It is important to recognize there are various levels of adherence, or membership within religious traditions or religious bodies. There’s no single definition, and sources of adherent statistics do not always make it clear what definition they are using.

Source: Adherents.com web site 00-ADH6 on Nov 7, 2000

Member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Sanders is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus:

The members of the Progressive Caucus share a common belief in the principles of social and economic justice, non-discrimination, and tolerance in America and in our relationships with other countries. We also seek to embody and give voice to national priorities which reflect the interests and needs of all the American people, not just the wealthy and the powerful. Our purpose is to present thoughtful, positive, practical solutions to the problems confronting America and the world. In the post-Cold War era, we believe our nation’s priorities must change with the times and reflect new realities. Accordingly, we support curbs on wasteful, inefficient government spending at the Pentagon and elsewhere, a more progressive tax system in which wealthier taxpayers and corporations pay their fair share, adequate funding for social programs that are designed to extend help to low and middle-income Americans in need, and trade policies that increase the exports of more American products and encourage the creation of jobs and investment in America.

Source: Congressional Progressive Caucus website 01-CPC0 on Oct 9, 2001

Profiled in "Jews in American Politics".

Sanders is profiled in the book "Jews in American Politics":

When one reads accounts of Jews in American politics, the common theme is that Jews have achieved prominence in art, literature, academia, certain businesses, and entertainment, but not in politics or government. The Jewish politician was the exception, not the rule.

In the last third of the 20th century, however, that pattern changed. By 2000, Jews had become as prominent in the political realm as they have been in other aspects of American life. And Jewish participation is accepted for the contributions these activists make, not because of their Jewishness. Nothing could symbolize this trend more cogently than the nomination of Joseph Lieberman for vice president in 2000 and the national reaction to his candidacy. [Lieberman says]:

Although politics was not exactly a Jewish profession, individual Jews did throw themsleves into the democratic process. Some were traditional politicians; others machine politicians. Many more, such as Emma Goldman and the radicals of the early 20th century, were inspired by the ideal that they had a duty to repair the world—Tikkun Olam.

Many reasons account for the broader representation of Jews in American civic life today. The forces of antisemitism have been relegated to the extreme margins of society, the principle of meritocracy has increasingly opened the doors of opportunity. Moreover, the idealism and purpose that were spawned by the movements for civil rights, opposition to the war in Vietnam, environmentalism, and other causes drew many Jewish Americans into the political arena. Jews are admonished tp help perfect the world by the ancient wisdom of Rabbi Tarfon, who tells us, “You are not required to complete the task, yet you are not free to withdaw from it.”

[This book] provides brief biographical sketches for more than 400 Jews who have played prominent roles in American political life. The roster provides much of the basic information that we felt was previously lacking in one place.
Source: Jews in American Politics, Sandy Maisels, ed., pp. xii-xxiii 01-JIAP0 on Jan 1, 2001

Member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Sanders is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus:

The members of the Progressive Caucus share a common belief in the principles of social and economic justice, non-discrimination, and tolerance in America and in our relationships with other countries. We also seek to embody and give voice to national priorities which reflect the interests and needs of all the American people, not just the wealthy and the powerful. Our purpose is to present thoughtful, positive, practical solutions to the problems confronting America and the world. In the post-Cold War era, we believe our nation’s priorities must change with the times and reflect new realities. Accordingly, we support curbs on wasteful, inefficient government spending at the Pentagon and elsewhere, a more progressive tax system in which wealthier taxpayers and corporations pay their fair share, adequate funding for social programs that are designed to extend help to low and middle-income Americans in need, and trade policies that increase the exports of more American products and encourage the creation of jobs and investment in America.

Source: Congressional Progressive Caucus website 07-CPC0 on Nov 6, 2007

Religious freedom means no religious registry.

Sanders signed opposing a religious registry

Press Release from 9 Senators: [Cory Booker and 13 co-sponsors] introduced legislation that would block a registry of people based on their religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, national origin, or nationality. "Religious freedom and freedom from discrimination are fundamental rights central to the very idea of being an American," Sen. Booker said. "Forcing people to sign up for a registry based on their religion, race, or national origin does nothing to keep America secure. It does, however, undermine the freedom of religion guaranteed by our Constitution and promote the false notion that people of certain faiths and nationalities are inherently suspect. Our legislation would block Donald Trump and subsequent administrations from infringing on religious liberty by creating an immigration-related religious registry."

National origin-based immigration registry systems have proven ineffective at combatting terrorism and strengthening national security, but effective at instilling fear in certain communities. The George W. Bush-era National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), registered over 83,000 individuals from 24 Muslim-majority countries, but yielded zero terrorism convictions.

Opposing argument: (GovTrack.us's analysis of S.54): President Trump pledged during his campaign to institute a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration and Syrian refugees "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." He made good on much of that promise with an executive order suspending America's refugee admission program for 120 days and banning all entry from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days. Trump has defended a Muslim registry as necessary to national security. "They have to be [registered]. It's all about management. Our country has no management," he said when first proposing the idea in 2015. Trump reiterated his plans as president-elect in December.

Source: S.54 & H.R.5207 17-S0054 on Jan 5, 2017

Question Trump on Emoluments clause.

Sanders signed questioning Trump on Emoluments clause

Excerpts from Letter from 17 Senators to Trump Organization: The Trump Organization's continuing financial relationship with President Trump raises concerns about whether it is a pass-through for income that violates the Constitution's two Emoluments Clauses: Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 on foreign Emoluments; and Article II, Clause 7 on domestic Emoluments. Please answer the following questions to help Congress understand:

Legal Analysis: (Cato Institute, "Emoluments Clause vs. Trump Empire," 11/29/16): The wording of the Emoluments clause points one way to resolution: Congress can give consent, as it did in the early years of the Republic to presents received by Ben Franklin. It can decide what it is willing to live with in the way of Trump conflicts. If it misjudges public opinion, it will pay a political price at the next election.

FOIA argument: (ACLU Center for Democracy, "FOIA Request," 1/19/17): We filed our first Freedom of Information Act request of the Trump Era, seeking documents relating President Trump's conflicts of interest relating to his business connections. When Trump took the oath of office, he didn't take the steps necessary to ensure that he and his family's business interests comply with the Constitution. Some have even argued that upon taking the oath of office, the new president is already violating the Emoluments Clause.

Source: Letter from 17 Senators 17LTR-EMOL on May 18, 2017

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Bernie Sanders on other issues:
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

External Links about Bernie Sanders:

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

Page last updated: Feb 24, 2020