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"I did not get into politics to figure out how to become president. I got into politics because I give a damn."
Bernard Sanders (born September 8, 1941), better known by his nickname Bernie, 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. Gaining an interest in politics at a young age, he participated in the Civil Rights Movement with none other than Martin Luther King Jr. himself. Bernie's father immigrated to the United States from what is now Poland right 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, in his own words, "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 6 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 from 1981 to 1989. From there, he served as the representative of Vermont's at-large House district in the U.S. Congress starting from 1990 until he was finally elected to his current position in 2007.
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Bernie Sanders gained national attention during the 2016 Presidential Election cycle, in which he almost secured the Democratic Party nomination away from the obvious candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton.note  Although he didn't winnote , his massive grassroots campaign came very close, and his candidacy inspired other significant political figures such as Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to run for office. Sanders is known for his progressive, left-wing political positions. A self-described Democratic Socialistnote , he supports a single-payer healthcare system in the form of Medicare for All and a massive overhaul of the United States's energy economy through a Green New Deal. He is also notably critical of the United States's 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 long before the topic became a mainstream issue. Among his other positions are his desire to initiate Criminal Justice reform, and to ensure all Americans over the age of 18 can vote.

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Sanders's 2016 political campaign gained massive traction among young people, and many of his notable positions such as a 15-dollar minimum wage have become part of the Democratic Party's mainstream platform. In 2019, Sanders announced his intention to run for president again during the 2020 Democratic Primary cycle. His campaign draws heavily off of his strong base from the 2016 primary cycle, and he as of August 2019 is one of the leading candidates in the race.


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Tropes pertaining to Bernie Sanders's appearances and portrayals in media:

  • Bourgeois Bohemian: He himself is fairly wealthy, and as a result he's often accused of being this by his political opponents. However, considering that his tirade is primarily against big corporations, whereas he became wealthy through his senatorial salary and the sales of his book, it falls a little flat.
  • Cool Old Guy: To his supporters. There's a reason he's popular with young people despite being one of the oldest candidates running.
  • Friend to All Living Things: After a bird landed on his podium during a speech in his 2016 campaign, there were jokes abound that mother nature had given Bernie Sanders her support, given his strong environmentalist stance. This incident earned Bernie the nickname "Birdie Sanders."
  • Grumpy Old Man / Alter Kocker: Often appears in political cartoons and the like portrayed this way.
  • Informed Judaism: He's Jewish, but he very rarely speaks about religion, preferring to focus on policy. Asked about it, Sanders said that his family "wasn't very religious" - other than going to synagogue once a year on Yom Kippur, and having a small Passover seder with their neighbors. He did go to Hebrew school (which even his mother felt was a chore) and had a bar mitzvah, and says he is "proud to be Jewish". Still, he isn't focused on it, so much as he is on social justice issues in general (the Other Wiki has a whole section on this in his article).
  • Memetic Hair: The silhouette of Bernie's hair, along with his glasses, is frequently depicted on merchandise.
  • Unknown Relative: Sanders was frequently parodied on SNL being played by Larry David, star of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Many remarked on their very similar appearance. Only after that had been going on for a while, they appeared in an episode of Finding Your Roots, which revealed that both of them actually are distantly related ("something like third or fourth cousins"). Neither Sanders or David had any prior idea of the connection.
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