Bernie Sanders is an American politician with multiple accomplishments under his belt, including being the longest serving independent politician in Congress and his 2016 presidential election having the biggest grassroots, online fundraising.
Having started as the Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, nobody would have thought that Sanders would later become a serious contender for the office of the president of the United States.
Sanders has spent his entire life looking to change the world around him through politics, which stems from the way that he and his family lived when he was a child.
Was Bernie Sanders Born Rich?
No, Bernie Sanders was not born rich, despite being worth anywhere between $729,030 and $1,837,701 today.
Instead, Sanders was raised in a working-class family that frequently struggled to ensure that they had the things they needed.
Bernie Sanders’s father was a paint salesman who had just recently immigrated from Poland.
Sanders, who was born in early September of 1941, was the youngest of two boys and often felt the pressure and repercussions of growing up in a financially insecure household, which is what has motivated the political positions that he holds today.
The economic disparity that many American families have faced is something that Sanders continues to focus on to this day.
It wouldn’t take Sanders very long to find what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, starting during his college years.
After graduating from James Madison High School, Sanders transferred to Brooklyn College.
Once he was finished with his first year at the college, Sanders transferred to the University of Chicago and quickly joined the school’s Congress of Racial Equality as a member of the Civil Rights Movement.
During his time with the organization, Sanders participated in many different protests, including a sit-in protest against the segregation of off-campus housing in 1962.
He served as an organizer for the University of Chicago’s Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which was followed by him being part of the March on Washington in 1963.
As a young activist and future politician, Sanders looked up to Eugene V. Debs, who was an American socialist leader.
In 1964, Sanders graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in political science.
Before entering the world of politics, Sanders held an assortment of odd jobs including a filmmaker, psychiatric aide, a freelance writer, and even becoming a teacher.
Getting Into His First Political Position
The 1960s were a time of personal growth for Bernie Sanders, which gave him the experience and knowledge he needed to become a predominant political figure who would serve for decades.
Despite having a history of being a part of historical changes, Sanders would struggle to get any political office until the 1980s.
In the 1970s, Bernie Sanders was a member of the Liberty Union Party, which was an anti-war party that had strongly disapproved of the Vietnam War.
While the political group aligned with Sanders’s beliefs as a politician, he didn’t see himself making any major progress with the political group.
With the help of the grassroots organization, Progressive Coalition, Sanders would snag the victory in the 1981 Burlington Mayoral race by only 12 votes.
After his first victory, he would win the run for mayor of Burlington, Vermont three more times.
During the 1970s, the city had lost 1.7% of its population due to a lack of jobs and affordable housing.
Sanders was determined to create more affordable housing and provide citizens with the jobs that they needed to survive.
Despite formulating plan after plan, Sanders quickly realized that the members of the city council were not going to make his job easy.
The city council tried to do everything in their power to keep Sanders from getting anything done as mayor, even going as far as to fire his secretary.
Things between Sanders and the city council didn’t improve until the election of 1982, when Sanders was able to befriend a couple of the council members through the massive turnaround that Sanders started in the city’s poorest sectors.
After Sanders established the Community and Economic Development Office, the town was flooded by new, small businesses.
These small businesses brought plenty of jobs and money to Burlington.
Becoming A Congressman
After his time as mayor in Vermont, Bernie Sanders felt that he needed to take an even bigger position in American politics in order to make a difference nationwide.
During the 1990 election for congress, Bernie Sanders ran as an independent and won his seat in the House of Representatives
Sanders was a member of the 102nd Congress of the United States and has been a member of Congress ever since.
Just as he struggled with the city council of Burlington, Sanders found it difficult to find allies who were willing to help him highlight the problems that Americans were facing during the 1990s.
As an independent, Bernie Sanders didn’t feel he could find many allies with Democrats or Republicans.
Sanders had always been clear about how he felt about either party, knowing that it would make him more enemies than friends.
When tensions between the United States and Iraq worsened, Sanders was extremely against going to war with the country.
With the country having a $6 trillion national debt, Sanders believed that another war was the last thing that the United States needed.
The financial cost of the Iraq War wasn’t the only cost on Sanders’s mind. He was also considering the effect that it would have on the citizens of Iraq and the American troops.
He believed that it was the country’s duty to consider the devastating effect that the war would have on all of the people involved and avoid it at all costs.
This opinion did not settle well with either of the major political parties, and it hurt Sanders’s reputation with both other politicians and voters.
However, other people’s opinions wouldn’t stop him from trying to get even further up in the political world and running for Senator of Vermont during the early 2000s.
From Congressman To Senator
In 2006, Bernie Sanders decided to join the race for Vermont’s position as Senator.
When Sanders ran for Senate, nobody thought that he would beat millionaire Richard Tarrant due to the massive differences in funding.
As he had countless times throughout his career, Sanders’s campaign was independent and grassroots.
Tarrant had invested $7 million of his own money into his campaign, but that proved to not be enough to grant Tarrant the victory.
Bernie Sanders has been a Senator for Vermont ever since, having served as a Senator through nine different Congresses.
One of the first major things that Sanders did as Senator was in 2010 when he filibustered for eight hours straight against tax cuts for wealthy Americans, pleading with his colleagues to consider another tax plan that would better benefit the middle class and working-class families.
Throughout his time as Senator, Bernie Sanders has served on many committees that he is passionate about.
Sanders has been a member of the Committee for Budget, the Committee on Veteran Affairs, the Joint Economic Committee, and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Currently, Sanders is on committees that focus on budget, veterans’ affairs, environment and public works, energy and natural resources, and health, education, labor, and pensions.
In addition to serving on multiple committees, Sanders also focuses much of his attention on topics such as voting rights, universal healthcare, climate change, environmental protections, and making renewable energy more accessible.
Bernie Sanders has been motivated to work on many of the issues that he strove to improve since his childhood, through the work he was doing in the 1960s and 1970s, and the people he met on his way to becoming the political figure people know him to be today.
Sanders is best known for his presidential campaigns in more recent years.
His Presidential Runs
In April of 2015, Bernie Sanders broke his history of being an independent political candidate and joined the Democratic Party for the 2016 presidential election to replace former president Barack Obama.
Sanders has stated that he decided to join the Democratic Party because he wasn’t sure that he would be able to get on ballots in all 50 states on his own and needed the manpower and financial support that the Democratic Party offered.
Although critics were vocal about how they didn’t think that Bernie Sanders would be able to beat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic vote, Sanders saw it as another opportunity to potentially take down another big-money opponent.
During his 2016 campaign, Sanders chose to focus on topics such as a tax reform that would increase tax rates for the wealthiest citizens of the United States, more government involvement with Wall Street, and reducing the wage disparity between men and women.
Sanders has also been an outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage and pro-choice policies.
Another major change that Sanders wanted to make as president was making higher learning more affordable by offering American citizens a free college education and looked to expand the policy to universities as well.
These policies made Sanders incredibly popular among the youngest generation of voters.
Bernie Sanders also wanted to expand existing programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
The presidential candidate also encouraged everyone to take action on the topics that they were passionate about.
Just as many of his critics guessed, Bernie Sanders would not get the Democratic vote.
Instead, he gained a multitude of supporters for the second time he would run for political office in 2020.
Although Sanders had a successful campaign, he would once again lose the Democratic vote to another political candidate, former vice president Joe Biden.
Meeting With The Pope
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders took a break to accept an invitation to meet with Pope Francis of the Catholic Church.
For the Jewish politician, this seemed like an incredibly odd choice for both the Pope and Sanders.
While the Vatican normally doesn’t have much to say when it comes to American politics, Pope Francis was eager to support some of the points that Sanders had been making throughout his presidential campaign.
When Bernie Sanders arrived at the Vatican, he gave a 15-minute speech about the dangers of unregulated globalization and the effect that it could have on the middle class.
After his speech, Pope Francis met with Sanders privately to speak with him.
Sanders claims that their conversation was an “extraordinary moment.”
Some people believed that the trip was to increase Sanders’s popularity among American Catholics, but other people saw it as the unity between two world travelers who had seen how important it was to consider morals when making economic decisions.
Pope Francis is from Argentina, where wealth disparity between the classes has had a massive effect on citizens and daily life in his home country.
While Sanders isn’t going to hide the fact that he doesn’t agree with all of Pope Francis’s political views, he was quick to recognize the importance of them agreeing on economic progress.
Like Bernie Sanders, Pope Francis has chosen to focus on financially struggling families and what the church needs to do to help to alleviate the problem.
The two men also agree that something needs to be done about climate change, prison reform, and the removal of the death penalty.
Those who were present for Sanders’s speech on the morality of economics found resonance with what he said.
This odd tag team of predominant leaders in their fields shocked many people.
Earning His Wealth From Authoring Books
Over the course of his political career, Bernie Sanders has taken plenty of time to write his own books.
Having been a freelance writer in his younger years, Sanders took advantage of his writing skills to publish his own pieces.
Bernie Sanders’s first book, published in 1997, is called Outsider in the House.
This book discussed his previous 30 years as a politician and what it was like to be an independent candidate in Washington D.C.
The book was co-written by Huck Gutman.
One year after his major filibuster, Bernie Sanders released a book called The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class.
This major event in the Senator’s career would be written about multiple times.
In 2015, Bernie Sanders published Bernie’s Speech: Complete and Unedited, which is based on his 2010 filibuster speech.
The book was published five years after the historical speech Sanders gave that lasted more than eight hours straight.
The speech went over topics that included tax relief, the Job Creation Act of 2010, and unemployment insurance reauthorization.
In total, the speech was 70,000 words about the need to consider the effects of the tax break that Sanders was trying to avert.
The following year, Bernie Sanders published People Are Catching On: The Historic Speech on Wall Street Fraud, Too Big to Fail Banks, and Our Rigged Financial System.
This book is significantly shorter than his previously published book at only 32 pages.
In the same year, Bernie Sanders released Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.
This book talks about his 2016 campaign and the struggles that he faced from other politicians and the media, but it also talks about the dedication of his supporters.
In 2017, Sanders co-authored The Age of Inequality: Corporate America’s War on Working People.
Sanders’s Real Estate Investments
Most of Bernie Sanders’s net worth comes from his real estate portfolio, which includes one home in Washington D.C. and two homes in Vermont.
Between his three different properties, Bernie Sanders has more than $1 million in properties.
Sanders’s family home in Burlington, Vermont is his main place of residency.
Having purchased it in 2009 for $405,000, the value of the home has since gone up to around $464,000 and is now worth 50% more than other homes in the area.
The house has four bedrooms, a striking red front door, and a well landscaped yard.
While debating with former mayor of New York City, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, Sanders stated that this was where he lives and spends most of his time.
The second property that Bernie Sanders owns is a small, one-bedroom apartment he lives in when he is in Washington D.C.
This property is estimated to be worth around $700,000 thanks to the influential location and is Sanders’s highest valued property.
In August of 2016, Bernie Sanders purchased a summer cabin for himself and his family in North Hero Island for $575,000.
The cabin is 99 years old and sits right on the shore of Lake Champlain, but controversy arose about the way that the Sanders family bought the cabin.
While Bernie and Jane Sanders told the public that they had used the money from the sale of Jane’s late parents’ house, some people questioned if that’s really where all the money came from.
Some people suspect that some of Jane Sanders’s $200,000 severance paycheck went towards their new island home as well.
Other points include the successful sales of Bernie Sanders’s book, Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.
Despite the criticism that arose after purchasing the four-bedroom vacation home, the Sanders love their historical cabin.
Where Bernie Sanders’s Hard Work Got Him
Bernie Sanders has gone from being the poor son of an immigrant parent to being a successful author, an impactful politician, and even a millionaire homeowner.
While Sanders may have lost his presidential runs, he has made history as an independent, grassroots-funded politician.
Sanders has remained outspoken about the problems he sees in American politics, even when they had the potential to hurt his career.