The two sides of the Democratic coin: Bernie Sanders

Sanders, the left-wing candidate
BERNIE SANDERS – Photo montage made with a picture of Gage Skidmore
Deirdre Heavey Deirdre Heavey

For young liberal Americans hopeful for change in America, Bernie Sanders is the grandfather of activism and the best chance of defeating current President Donald Trump. On the frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement, anti-Vietnam efforts, a call for institutional tax reformation, and now climate activism, Bernie Sanders has fought for a better America his entire life. 

While Sanders was the clear front-runner of the Democratic party following the Iowa caucus, Joe Biden swept the lead following Super Tuesday. With Biden leading in the polls, Bernie supporters question whether he can get the support he needs to earn the Democratic presidential nomination.  

Political Activist, House Representative, and U.S. Senator 

Bernie Sanders was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1941. Sanders attended Brooklyn College before going on to earn his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago in 1964. As a student in Chicago, Sanders became a political activist during the Civil Rights Movement. Bernie Sanders participated in the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a movement for the civil and economic rights of African-Americans led by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1963. After living in Israel briefly following graduation, Sanders moved to Vermont where he worked as a freelance journalist, union carpenter, and became an activist for the anti-Vietnam War movement

After years of unsuccessful bids for governor of Vermont and for the U.S. Senate, Sanders was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1981. In 1991, Sanders was voted into the U.S. House of Representatives and founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He was re-elected seven times to the U.S. House of Representatives. When Sanders ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006, he won by a landslide with his campaign for tax reform. Sanders ran for president of the United States in 2016 before endorsing Hilary Clinton for Democratic nomination. In 2020, Sanders is a frontrunner in the 2020 presidential primary. 

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders supports universal health care. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Plans for Presidency

As a self-described democratic socialist, Sanders represents the far left of American politics. Sanders has been a leader in environmental policy in the United States. Bernie Sanders supports a Green New Deal, a climate justice bill which includes the immediate transition to renewable energy and the protection of marginalized communities from the effects of climate change. In line with Sanders’s social activism, his campaign includes policies for Women’s Rights, Fighting for Disability Rights, LGBTQ+ Equality, and Racial Justice among many others. 

On immigration, Sanders supports a Welcoming and Safe America for All, which includes accepting refugees, asylum-seekers, and families in search of the American Dream. As president, he would reinstate Deferred Action for Childhood Affairs (DACA), reunite families on the American-Mexican border, reform the immigration enforcement system, and revise deportation policy. 

On health care, Bernies supports Reproductive Health Care and Justice for All. As president, he would dismantle the damage Trump has done to Roe v Wade and make abortion legal. In line with his democratic socialist ideals, Sanders also supports access to universal health care and will eliminate private health care in support of Medicare For All if elected president. 

On gun laws, Sanders supports Gun Safety. His gun policies include an aggressive move to end gun violence, pass common-sense gun safety laws, block the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) interruption in politics, ban assault weapons, eliminate gun shows, and establish background checks among other radical initiatives.