We’ve heard the name Bernie Sanders quite a lot in recent years in the U.S.’s political scene, since it is the name under which Bernard Sanders sought to become President of the United States in 2016. Bernie was born on September 8, 1941, in Brooklyn, NYC, to working-class Jewish parents. He became interested in politics from a young age, and started to participate in elections in his high school years, where he ran unsuccessfully for class president. His desire to help the community in any way he could was the reason he kept pursuing a career in politics, particularly to aid those in difficult situations.
During his years studying at the University of Chicago, Bernie took part in antiwar and anti-segregation protests, advocating for peace and integration. He fought for the civil rights movement in the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), helping to organize protests for these groups. After graduating from university in 1964, Bernie worked odd-jobs in New York to support himself before finally settling in a small town in Vermont because he had been captivated by rural life.
Bernie’s political career began after his move to Vermont, when he ran several unsuccessful third-party elections (as a member of the Liberty Union Party—a self-proclaimed anti-war, nonviolent party) in the 1970s, until he was finally elected as mayor of Burlington in 1981. Sanders was later reelected three more times as mayor. In 1990, he made it to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Vermont’s district as an independent party. For 16 years, Bernie served as a U.S. representative—making him the longest serving representative for an independent political party—before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, also winning the reelections in 2012 and 2018. During his time in office, Bernie chaired the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee from 2013 to 2015. In January 2021, he was appointed chair of the Senate Budget Committee.
In 2016 and 2020, Bernie Sanders was front-runner in the Democratic presidential nominations against all expectations, but he eventually endorsed both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden respectively. Bernie supported them both in the general election campaigns as they ran against Republican Donald Trump. Bernie’s success in his presidential aspirations was a surprise to most and he became a well-respected, loved and even the protagonist of several memes who poked fun at him. He was even considered the most popular politician at the time.
After the elections, Sanders published a book, Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, which topped at number three on The New York Times Best Seller list. The audiobook later received a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album. In February 2017, The Bernie Sanders Show premiered on Facebook live streaming, which featured popular guests such as Jane Mayer and Bill Nye. Not even old age is stopping Bernie, who continues to be at the service of his community and advocates for a more peaceful and equal world.