Sanders, Bernie

Sanders, Bernie (Bernard Sanders), 1941–, American politician, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. The son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, he spent a year at Brooklyn College and graduated from the Univ. of Chicago (B.A., 1964). He moved to Vermont in 1964. A sometime journalist, carpenter, writer, and filmmaker, he taught at Harvard (1989) and Hamilton College (1989–90). Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in the early 1970s and for Vermont governor in 1972, 1976, and 1986. First elected mayor of Burlington in 1980, he proved to be popular and effective. In 1990 he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first socialist to serve in that body since the 1920s. Officially considered an independent, Sanders was elected (2006, 2012, 2018) to the Senate, where he has generally espoused liberal and progressive positions while assiduously avoiding the label of Democrat. In 2015, however, he became a candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, mounting a long, vigorous, but ultimately losing campaign against Hillary Clinton. In 2019 he became a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and was again a significant contender; he suspended his campaign in Apr., 2020, after Joe Biden appeared likely to secure the nod. When the Democrats took control of the Senate in 2021, Sanders was named Chair of the Budget Committee.

See his Outsider in the House (1997); studies by G. Guma (1989), W. J. Conroy (1990), S. Soifer (1991), and S. Rosenfeld (1992).

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