Follow TV Tropes


Useful Notes / Bernie Sanders

Go To

"I did not get into politics to figure out how to become president. I got into politics because I give a damn."
Bernie Sanders in this tweet, on December 11, 2015, back when he was still seen as an outsider candidate to most Americans.

Bernard "Bernie" Sanders (born September 8, 1941) is a United States Senator from Vermont.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City, he grew up in a Jewish family with his parents and his brother Larry (who moved to the United Kingdom as an adult and also became a politiciannote ). He became interested in politics at a young age, participating in the Civil Rights Movement with none other than Martin Luther King Jr. himself.

Sanders' father emigrated to the United States from what is now Poland just before the rise of Adolf Hitler, and much of his extended family was murdered during The Holocaust. Sanders credits much of his early interest in politics to this: "A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932. He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including six million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important." Sanders moved to Vermont in 1968, and his first position as an official elected member of government was as mayor of Burlington; he served as such from 1981 to 1989. He later served as the representative of Vermont's at-large House district in the U.S. Congress from 1991 until 2007, when he was sworn into the Senate following his victory in Vermont's 2006 Senate election.

Bernie Sanders gained national attention in 2016 when he mounted a long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nominationnote  against frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former first lady, U.S. senator, and Secretary of State. He was a stronger competitor to Clinton than most expected considering he was polling under 10% when he announced his campaign, an announcement that was deemed so unnewsworthy that it was only aired by C-SPAN 3. After climbing in the polls for months he managed to tie Clinton in Iowa and win New Hampshire in a landslide. While Sanders performed strongly among younger voters, it wasn't enough to overcome Clinton's advantage among older and minority voters, and Clinton ultimately won the nomination by a 12-point popular vote margin and 8-point pledged delegate margin.note  His candidacy inspired many progressive candidates such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to run for office down-ballot.

Sanders is known for his progressive, left-wing political positions. A self-described democratic socialist (some would say "social democrat"), he supports a single-payer health care system in the form of Medicare for All and a massive overhaul of the United States' energy economy through a Green New Deal. He is also notably critical of the United States' habit of engaging in foreign regime change, particularly during The War on Terror, supports a two-state solution to the Arab–Israeli Conflict, and has passionately fought for the rights of the LGBT Community since long before the topic became a mainstream issue. He also advocates for criminal justice reform, automatic voter registration, and is notably the only presidential candidate to call to abolish ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and return to the immigration enforcement system used prior to 2003 (where multiple agencies shared the responsibility).

Sanders's 2016 political campaign gained massive traction among young people, and many of his notable positions, such as a $15 hourly minimum wage, have become part of the Democratic Party's mainstream platform. In 2019, Sanders announced his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, drawing heavily from his strong base from the 2016 primary cycle. For a time, Sanders was seen as the frontrunner, but ultimately lost to former vice president Joe Biden, who became the nominee and defeated incumbent president Donald Trump in the general election.

Most portrayals of Sanders focus on his populist rhetoric, Jewish New York heritage, and fiery personality. His Large Ham speeches and his distinct Brooklyn accent made him an easy source of humor among political satirists. Likewise, his old age and Jewish heritage is handy for anyone looking to making jokes about elderly people, Jews, or elderly Jews.

Filmography featuring Bernie Sanders:

Music albums featuring Bernie Sanders:

  • We Shall Overcome (1987) — narrator

Bernie Sanders in fiction:

    open/close all folders 
  • In Birds of Prey (2020), Harley Quinn claims that one of the reasons why one of her enemies hates her is because she "voted for Bernie".
    Live-Action TV 
  • Is portrayed by Larry David on Saturday Night Live.
  • Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers use every opportunity to break out their own Bernie impressions on their respective shows.
  • Succession has Gil Eavis as a rather blatant stand-in for Bernie Sanders. Like his real-life inspiration, Eavis is a left-leaning Jewish senator who runs for President on the platform of opposition to wealth inequality.