Born in 1941, Bernie Sanders is an American politician. He has served as the junior United States senator from Vermont since 2007. From 1991 to 2007, he served as US Representative for Vermont’s at-large congressional district. Bernie has managed to stay an independent politician for many years. Despite showing support for the Democratic Party, he remains independent.
History will remember him as the longest-serving independent in US congressional history. For most of his career, he worked in close relationship with the Democratic Party.
In 2016 and 2020, Sanders tried to run for president, but he couldn’t win the Democratic Party nomination.
Famous for his social democratic and progressive policy, Sanders doesn’t support economic inequality and neoliberalism. For the domestic policy, he supports labor rights, paid parental leave, tuition-free tertiary education, climate change policy, universal and single-payer healthcare, and more.
For the foreign policy, Sanders supports reducing military spending, pursuing more diplomacy and international cooperation, and putting more emphasis on environmental concerns.
Born into a working-class Jewish family, he spent most of his childhood in New York City. Bernie attended Brooklyn College and then graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964. During his student days, he took an active role in protests and movements.
Some would say that his policies won, despite him not winning the nomination for a Presidential run. So, what are some of the biggest Bernie Sanders accomplishments? Let’s take a look at his achievements throughout his college years, early politics, and his recent accomplishments.
Years in the future, we might consider this his biggest achievement. Jokes aside, Bernie Sanders managed to remain the most popular figure in the world for at least one week. More people talked about Bernie than about Joe Biden following the Inauguration Day.
And that is because Bernie made waves across the internet on Inauguration Day, sparking thousands of memes on social media.
Photojournalist Brendan Smialowski captured the photo of Bernie. In the picture, Bernie dons oversize mittens and a practical brown coat, sitting socially distanced on a folding chair with crossed legs and arms.
The same day, that photo got photoshopped into thousands of different locations and events. And Bernie managed to cash on it. Bernie Sanders Meme merchandise earned close to $2 million for Vermont Charities.
Student Years Activism
Let’s go back to his early days. During his student years, Bernie tried to join as many movements and causes as he could. He went to Brooklyn College, and then one year after, he transferred to the University of Chicago.
In Chicago, he earned a degree in political science. He also joined the Congress of Racial Equality, the student nonviolent coordinating committee, the Young People’s Socialist League, and the Student Peace Union.
Fighting For Sexual Freedom
During his student days in Chicago, Bernie tried to voice his opinion on matters he considered important. He organized a protest against the school’s racist housing policies.
But he got the most attention with his radical action in 1963. As a junior, he waged a crusade for sexual freedom, going against the school’s policy that ruined student’s sex lives.
He made national news with his 2,000-word manifesto in The Chicago Maroon, the student’s newspaper. Bernie defended sexual freedom and attacked the policy of the administration.
Bernie wrote, “In my opinion, the administrators of this university are as qualified to legislate on sex as they are to mend broken bones. One can best use an old saying to describe their actions; that their ignorance of the matter is only matched by their presumptuousness. If they dislike sex, or if they think that it is ‘dirty,’ or ‘evil,’ or ‘sinful’ that is their misfortune. It is incredible, however, that they should be allowed to pass their attitudes, or neuroses, on to the student body.”
Recorded A Five-Track Album
Can you imagine Bernie singing? Or rapping? Or anything in between? In 1987, he recorded a five-track album featuring covers of folk hits. Some of the songs include This Land is Your Land and We Shall Overcome.
He released the album as a cassette. But the recording sold only a couple hundred copies. Yet, in 2016, that album made it on Amazon and surged to Number 62.
Going now into his political career, this one will remain remembered. In December 2010, he delivered 8 hours, 30 minutes filibuster on the Senate floor to block a bipartisan deal to extend tax cuts passed under the George W. Bush administration.
He trended globally on Twitter. The next year, he turned his speech into a bestselling book. The book contains the full 8 hours and 30 minutes speech.
But despite his objections, the bill eventually passed the Senate with a strong majority. It got signed into law on December 17, 2010.
Fundraising For His Campaign
Experts pay close attention and watch fundraising totals in the US as an indicator of the candidate’s support. Bernie got huge contributions from different sources for both his 2016 and 2020 Presidential campaign.
In 2020, he raised more than $1 million just three hours after his announcement. He received donations from all 50 states, quickly overtaking the amount of rival candidate Kamala Harris.
Within 12 hours, Sanders raised more than $4 million from 150,000 donors. And in the first 24 hours, he amassed more than $5.9 million from 225,000 individual donors.
Within one week of the announcement, he collected more than $10 million from more than 350,000 different donors, many of which did not donate to his 2016 campaign.
He registered some Republican donors as well.
In February 2020, Sanders announced they raised $25 million in January alone, more than any other candidate raised during any entire quarter of 2019.
During his first year in the House, Bernie often alienated allies and colleagues with his criticism of both political parties. He blamed them for working primarily on behalf of the wealthy.
In 1991, Bernie co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a group of liberal Democrats. He chaired it for its first years. And he refused to join the Democratic Party.
In 2005, Rolling Stone magazine called Sanders “The Amendment King”. He could get more roll-call amendments passed than any other congressman during the period since 1995.
As an independent, Sanders could form coalitions across party lines.
As a member of the Congress, Sanders sponsored 15 concurrent resolutions and 15 Senate resolutions. Of the ones he co-sponsored, 218 made it into law.
Sanders consistently advocated for progressive causes. He sponsored over 500 amendments to bills, many of which turned into law. Some of them include a ban on imported goods made by child labor.
Bernie Sanders is a huge supporter of climate change issues. He views global warming as a serious problem, and always advocates for bold action to reverse the effects.
Sanders calls for substantial investment in infrastructure with energy efficiency. For Bernie, energy efficiency and sustainability will lead to job creation.
Sanders considers climate change the greatest threat to national security. In 2019, he announced his support for Green New Deal legislation.
Winning When Losing
Speaking of the greatest accomplishments by Bernie Sanders, this has to go on the top. Bernie is one of the few people that lost the battle but won the war.
His greatest accomplishment during the campaign is moving good ideas out of the radical category and into the mainstream category. He inspired people to carry these ideas forward.
In a way, Bernie Sanders transformed American politics. In his speech and message announcing the suspension of his 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, he said, “A new vision for America is what our campaign has been about and what, in fact, we have accomplished”.
Over the last several years, including the 2016 and 2020 Presidential campaign, the Bernie Sanders’ movement won the ideological struggle.