Bernard Sanders, better known simply as “Bernie”, is an American politician without an official party affiliation. He currently serves as the junior United States Senator from Vermont, a position he has held since 2007. He previously served as U.S. Representative for the state’s at-large congressional district from 1991 to 2007.
Sanders is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history; however, he has a close relationship with the Democratic Party. He has caucused with House and Senate Democrats for the majority of his congressional career.1https://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2016/02/05/his-most-radical-move/
Sanders described his upbringing as an American Jew in a 2016 speech. His father generally attended synagogue only on Yom Kippur; he attended public schools while his mother “chafed” at his yeshiva Sunday schooling at a Hebrew school, and their religious observances were mostly limited to Passover seders with their neighbors. Larry Sanders said of their parents, “They were very pleased to be Jews, but didn’t have a strong belief in God.”2https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/25/us/politics/bernie-sanders-jewish.html
Sanders became interested, he observed, “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.”3https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/monitor_breakfast/2015/0611/Bernie-Sanders-I-m-proud-to-be-Jewish While at the University of Chicago, he joined the Young People’s Socialist League4https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/07/bernie-sanders-vermont-119927_full.html and was active in the civil rights movement as a student for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).5https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/21/magazine/21Sanders.t.html
Sanders ran an unsuccessful presidential campaign in the 2016 election, and again in 2020. Both of his campaigns had an extremely high amount of public support. Analysts have suggested that Sanders’s campaign shifted both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party politically leftward. 6https://www.huffpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-congress_n_5720e608e4b0b49df6a9c933 Noting the increasing acceptance of his national single-payer health-care program, his $15-an-hour minimum wage stance, free college tuition and many of the other campaign platform issues he introduced, an April 2018 opinion article in The Week suggested, “Quietly but steadily, the Democratic Party is admitting that Sanders was right.”7https://theweek.com/articles/769073/bernie-sanders-conquered-democratic-party