Bernie Sanders is Running For President in 2020

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Just announced a few minutes ago.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is giving it another go, launching a second campaign for the White House four years after surprising Democrats with a strong bid for the party’s 2016 nomination.

“We began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign, and now it’s time to move that revolution forward,” the independent senator told Vermont Public Radio in an interview airing Tuesday morning.

But this 2020 bid will undoubtedly be a very different presidential campaign than his quest for the Democratic nomination as an underdog in 2016. Sanders enters the race as a top contender who, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, tops most early polls, far outpacing other Democratic candidates in support and name identification.

It’s a sharp contrast from when Sanders seemingly came out of nowhere to surprise the political class — and at times himself — by winning several key primaries against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Buoyed by a big early win in New Hampshire, Sanders fought Clinton for the Democratic nomination through the final June contests, drawing tens of thousands of supporters to rallies in the process.

Who is Bernie?

Sanders was born and raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, and attended Brooklyn College before graduating from the University of Chicago in 1964. While a student he was an active protest organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the civil rights movement. After settling in Vermont in 1968, Sanders ran unsuccessful third-party political campaigns in the early to mid-1970s. As an independent, he was elected mayor of Burlington—the state’s most populous city—in 1981, by a margin of ten votes. He was reelected mayor three times. He won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990, representing Vermont’s at-large congressional district, and co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He served as a Representative for 16 years before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. He has been reelected to the Senate twice: in 2012 and 2018.

On April 30, 2015, Sanders announced his campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Initially considered a long shot, he went on to win 23 primaries and caucuses and approximately 43% of pledged delegates, to Hillary Clinton‘s 55%. His campaign was noted for its supporters’ enthusiasm, as well as for his rejection of large donations from corporations, the financial industry, and any associated Super PAC. On July 12, 2016, he formally endorsed Clinton in her general election campaign against Republican Donald Trump, while urging his supporters to continue the “political revolution” his campaign began.

A self-described democratic socialist and progressive, Sanders is pro-labor rights and emphasizes reversing economic inequality.[2]He advocates for universal and single-payer healthcare, paid parental leave, and tuition-free tertiary education. On foreign policy, Sanders broadly supports reducing military spending, pursuing more diplomacy and international cooperation, and putting greater emphasis on labor rights and environmental concerns when negotiating international trade agreements. — Wikipedia

Religion, heritage, and values

As Sanders described his upbringing as an American Jew in a 2016 speech: his father generally attended synagogue only on Yom Kippur; he attended public schools while his mother “chafed” at his yeshiva Sunday schooling at a Hebrew school, and their religious observances were mostly limited to Passover seders with their neighbors. Larry Sanders said, “They were very pleased to be Jews, but didn’t have a strong belief in God.” Bernie had a bar mitzvah at the historic Kingsway Jewish Center in Midwood, Brooklyn, where he grew up.[

In 1963, in cooperation with the Labor Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair, Sanders and his first wife volunteered at Sha’ar HaAmakim, a kibbutz in northern Israel. His motivation for the trip was as much socialistic as it was Zionistic.[

As Mayor of Burlington, Sanders allowed a Chabad public menorah to be placed at city hall, an action contested by the local ACLU chapter. He publicly inaugurated the Hanukkah menorah and performed the Jewish religious ritual of blessing Hanukkah candles. His early and strong support played a significant role in the now widespread public menorah celebrations around the globe.  When asked about his Jewish heritage, Sanders has said he is “proud to be Jewish”.[

Sanders rarely speaks about religion. He describes himself as “not particularly religious”[19]and “not actively involved” with organized religion. A press package issued by his office states “Religion: Jewish”. He has said he believes in God, though not necessarily in a traditional manner: “I think everyone believes in God in their own ways,” he said. “To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.” In October 2015, on the late-night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kimmel asked Bernie, “You say you are culturally Jewish and you don’t feel religious; do you believe in God and do you think that’s important to the people of the United States?” Sanders replied:[

I am who I am, and what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we’re all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people … and this is not Judaism, this is what Pope Francis is talking about, that we can’t just worship billionaires and the making of more and more money. Life is more than that.

In 2016, he stated he had “very strong religious and spiritual feelings” and explained, “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.”[

Sanders does not regularly attend synagogue, and he works on Rosh Hashanah, a day when Jews typically take a holiday from work. He has attended yahrzeit observances in memory of the deceased, for the father of a friend, and he attended a Tashlikh, an atonement ceremony, with the mayor of Lynchburg on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah in 2015.  According to Sanders’s close friend Richard Sugarman, a professor of religious studies at the University of Vermont, Sanders’s Jewish identity is “certainly more ethnic and cultural than religious”. Deborah Dash Moore, a Judaic scholar at the University of Michigan, has said that Sanders has a particular type of “ethnic Jewishness” that is somewhat old-fashioned. Sanders’s wife is Roman Catholic, and he has frequently expressed admiration for Pope Francis, saying that “the leader of the Catholic Church is raising profound issues. It is important that we listen to what he has said.” Sanders has said he feels “very close” to Francis’s economic teachings, describing him as “incredibly smart and brave”. In April 2016, Sanders accepted an invitation from Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, an aide close to the pope, to speak at a Vatican conference on economic and environmental issues. While at the Vatican, Sanders met briefly with the pontiff. — Wikipedia

Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders marched on Washington in 1963, moved to Vermont the next year and ultimately ran six statewide races there (lost four, won two). The nation’s only socialist (he currently says democratic socialist) member of Congress tells high school students to argue with their parents and teachers and is an ardent anti-war activist who fought for military veterans. He has been a popular mayor, a Senate committee chairman, an early social media and filibuster phenomenon and he once recorded a folk album in the style of William Shatner.

Here is where he stands on 10 key issues.

Campaign finance: Limit corporate and interest-group spending in campaigns.

Sanders proposes a Constitutional amendmentthat would effectively reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling and ban corporations and nonprofits from unlimited campaign expenditures. The independent senator would also require disclosure of any organizations spending $10,000 or more on an election-related campaign. Sanders is the only 2016 candidate who has rejected assistance from a super PAC, the financial organizations made legal by Citizens United.

Climate change: Charge companies for carbon emissions.

Considered to be a “climate change hawk,” Sanders argues that shifting global temperatures are a significant threat and caused by human activity. He has sponsored a bill which would charge companies for their carbon emissions and use some of the money raised to boost renewable energy technology.

Watch the PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate, 9 p.m. EST Feb. 11, on your local PBS station, and in our live stream, which will begin at 8:30 p.m.  Watch a live stream with closed captions here.

Education: Free, universal preschool. Free tuition at public colleges and universities. 

The Vermont senator would make preschool free for all four-year-olds, funding the plan by increasing taxes on the wealthy and some Wall Street transactions. He would use similar tax changes to fund his key higher education proposal: to make tuition free at public colleges and universities. His campaign estimates that will cost $70 billion a year. In the past, Sanders has proposed funding state governments so they could cut tuition at state colleges by 55 percent.

Federal Reserve and banks: Break up big banks. Open up the Fed.

Sanders would divide large banks into smaller entities and charge a new fee for high-risk investment practices, including credit default swaps. In addition, he believes the Federal Reserve is an opaque organization which gives too much support to large corporations. His pushed for a 2011 audit of the Fed and he would use the Fed to force banks into loaning more money to small businesses. Finally, he would ban financial industry executives from serving on the 12 regional boards of directors.

Guns: Ban assault weapons. Repeal law protecting some gun manufacturers. No federal handgun waiting period. 

In early 2016, Sanders changed his position on a gun law that protects some gun manufacturers and sellers from civil lawsuits. Sanders supported the measure in 2005 while in the House of Representatives. He now is co-sponsoring a bill to repeal that law. In the House of Representatives, Sanders voted against the pro-gun-control Brady Bill, writing that he believes states, not the federal government, can handle waiting periods for handguns. Soon after, he voted yes for the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that included an assault weapons ban. He voted for the Manchin-Toomey legislation expanding federal background checks.

Healthcare: Launch universal, government-provided health care.

Sanders voted for the Affordable Care Act, but believes that the new healthcare law did not go far enough. Instead, he espouses “Medicare for all”, a single-payer system in which the federal and state governments would provide healthcare to all Americans. Sanders’ team estimates this will cost $13.8 trillion over ten years. He would fund the plan with a health surcharge or “premium” to be paid for by employers and individuals and by a new progressive income tax, raising rates for those making over $250,000. His top individual income tax rate would be 52 percent.

Immigration: Offer path to citizenship. Waive some deportations now.

Sanders generally agrees with President Obama that most of the undocumented immigrants in the country now should be given a path to citizenship. He voted for the senate immigration bill in 2013, which would have increased border security and issued a provisional immigrant status to millions of undocumented residents once some significant security metrics had been met. In addition, Sanders has supported President Obama’s use of executive orders to waive deportation for some groups of immigrants, including those who were brought to the United States as children.

Taxes: Raise income tax rates for those making over $250,000. Tax capital gains the same as dividends from work.

Sanders has long advocated a more progressive tax system. To pay for his $13.8 trillion “Medicare for all” plan, Sanders would increase income tax rates for those earning over $250,000, boosting their rate to 37 percent. Those at the top end of the income scale — earning more than $10 million a year — would pay 52 percent in income taxes. Sanders would also increase other fees or taxes, including Social Security taxes for higher incomes. In addition, he would tax capital gains at the same percentage as income a taxpayer makes from work. 

In 2015 Sanders asked President Obama to use executive action to close six tax deductions benefitting corporations and hedge funds. 

Iraq, Islamic State and Afghanistan: Opposed the Iraq war. Calls for troop withdrawal as soon as possible.

A longtime anti-war activist, Sanders voted against the Iraq war resolution in 2002. He has regularly called for the U.S. to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Iraq as soon as possible. Regarding the Islamic State, Sanders has said the U.S. should not lead the fight. In general, he believes the U.S. should focus less on international conflict and more on the domestic needs of the middle class.

Iran and Israel: Supports current deal with Iran. Critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Sanders backs President Obama’s negotiations with Iran and sharply criticized Republican senators who signed a letter warning Iran against a potential deal. In a statement, the Jewish senator pushed back against the idea of tougher sanctions and was critical of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. Sanders was the first senator to announce he would not attend the speech.

References:

Wikipedia.com

PBS.org

YouTube

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