Who is Bernie Sanders?
With a little more than a year to go until the 2016 presidential election things are beginning to get interesting. We all know that it doesn’t take long to see a clear picture of who has a chance at winning a party’s nominee, and it’s usually ruled down to two candidates fairly quickly. Democrats seem to be narrowing it down to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton is the more famous of the two, and definitely seems to have more financial backing for her campaign. However, Sanders seems to be stealing her spotlight more than some people thought possible. But who is Bernie Sanders? Not many people who don’t keep up with politics know much about him, and what they do know could be incorrect.
Bernie Sanders grew up in Brooklyn New York and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964. He went on to teach at Harvard University in Massachusetts and Hamilton University in New York. He became the mayor of Burlington, Vermont from 1981-1989. He was elected as a member of congress from 1991-2007. He was then elected into the Senate from 2007 to the present, and will remain in the senate until 2019 unless he is elected president of the United States in 2016. Sanders considers himself an independent, but caucuses with the Democratic Party.
- Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist, which he describes as “having a government which represents all people, rather than just the wealthiest people, which is most often the case right now in this country.”
- Sanders is very firm about where he stands on the big issues, and doesn’t seem to have flip flopped on any like his competitor Hillary Clinton. Sanders wants to push for universal healthcare for all U.S. citizens. Sanders also wants to make public college free or at least easily affordable. He says that other major countries in the world have done both successfully, so why shouldn’t we?
“The cost of college education today is so high that many young people are giving up their dream of going to college, while many others are graduating deeply in debt,” Sanders said.
- He wants to transform our energy system so we can stop harming the environment. He believes the minimum wage should be raised to $15 an hour nationally by 2020 because the current minimum wage is not livable.
“At the current $5.15 an hour, the federal minimum wage has become a poverty wage. A full-time worker with one child lives below the official poverty line,” Sanders said.
- Sanders wants to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, which means he wants to fix the fundamental facilities serving the country such as transportation systems, communication systems, power plants and schools.
- He wants to expand social security so the people who need it are getting what they deserve. Sanders also wants to end police brutality and demilitarize the police which has become a huge problem in the past couple of years.
Another major issue for Sanders is overturning Citizens United, which allows politicians to accept large sums of money from companies. The problem with this is when companies donate to politician’s campaigns, the candidate is more likely to vote in favor of corporate interests because of the money they were given for it.
“Here is what the practical impact of Citizens United means. What Citizens United means is that corporations call hundreds of millions of dollars into television ads, radio ads, and other forms of advertising to defeat those candidates who stand up and take them on,” Sanders said.
How does Sanders expect to pay for all of this you may be asking? Well, he wants raise the taxes on the wealthiest 1% in the country. He wants to end the war on drugs which costs way too much. The U.S. government spent over $15 billion on the war on drugs in 2010 alone. Sanders also wants to stop endless military spending. According to SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), the U.S. spent more than any other country at $618 billion on its military last year, more than three times the amount China spent coming in at second place with $171 billion.
“Let us wage a moral and political war against war itself, so that we can cut military spending and use that money for human needs,” Sanders said.
He believes in the right to choose for women on the abortion issue. He also believes in gay marriage equality and has felt this way for many years. He has said that he is for the legalization of recreational marijuana because he is tired of young people’s lives being ruined because of marijuana possession and paraphernalia charges, and tired of them being incarcerated for something that doesn’t harm other people and hasn’t caused a single death ever.
Sanders has been doing extremely well in the polls and he has surprised many people by keeping up with Clinton. Young people seem to be taking a liking to him and Sanders hopes to not only increase voter turn- out, but he wants more young people to get out and vote in this election than they ever have in the past.
Only time will tell who the American people will elect as the 45th president of the United States, but getting educated on all candidates running is the only way to ensure you are choosing the right president for the people.
To learn more about Bernie Sanders and where he stands on issues, visit his website at https://berniesanders.com/ .