Candidate profile: Bernie Sanders

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(NEXSTAR) — Bernie Sanders is currently serving as U.S. Senator for Vermont, having been sworn into that position in 2007. Prior to his stint as Senator, Sanders served as U.S. Representative for Vermont’s at-large district from 1991-2007. This is his second time running for President, having lost the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Sanders is seen as the elder statesman of the progressive movement in Congress, earning him the endorsement of rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in October. 

Key political positions

Healthcare

Sanders supports Medicare for All. As he has been fond of saying in the debates, he “wrote the damn bill.” Sanders is the main proponent of a Medicare for all single-payer, national health insurance program to provide everyone in America with comprehensive health care coverage, free at the point of service. Sanders’ plan also calls for no networks, no premiums, no deductibles, no copays, and no surprise bills.

Sanders said Medicare coverage will be expanded and improved to include: dental, hearing, vision, and home- and community-based long-term care, in-patient and out-patient services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, reproductive and maternity care, prescription drugs, and more.

Economy  

As with most policy plans, Sanders is at or near the most progressive end of the scale. Sanders’ main economic plan entails eliminating income inequality by taxing the very rich and big corporations. Sanders’ plan includes support for workers’ rights and union organizing, aiming to double union membership within his first term. The plan also would deny federal contracts to companies that abuse workers’ rights. Sanders also wants to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour much like his Democratic colleagues. 

Immigration

Sanders plans to tackle several immigration issues by:

  • Ending the current administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy and Operation Streamline.
  • Reinstating and expanding DACA, and implementing DAPA.
  • Creating alternatives to detention centers that are community-based.
  • Ensuring legal counsel and support for undocumented people before their hearings.

Climate change

Sanders is a proponent of the Green New Deal, aiming to transform the nation’s energy system into 100% renewable energy, end the greed of the fossil fuel industry, conserve public lands. Sanders’ plan would also reduce emissions worldwide, including providing $200 billion to the Green Climate Fund, rejoining the Paris Agreement, and reasserting the United States’ leadership in the global fight against climate change.

Gun reform

Sanders wants to enact universal background checks and end the gun show loophole. He also wants to ban assault weapons, bump stocks, high-capacity magazines, and the 3-D printing of firearms. Sanders would also implement a buyback program to get assault weapons off the streets, and supports “Red Flag” laws in order to prevent domestic abusers from buying firearms. His plan also aims to tackle gun violence by taking on special interest groups such as the NRA.

Education

Sanders’ plan aims to guarantee tuition-free and debt-free public colleges, universities, HBCUs, Minority Serving Institutions and trade-schools to all. Sanders also wants to cancel student loan debt for the 45 million Americans who owe about $1.6 trillion and place a cap on student loan interest rates going forward. At lower levels, Sanders aims to increase teacher pay, including a minimum starting salary of $60,000/year, to increase funding for public schools and to provide year-round, free universal school meals among other changes.

More information about Sander’s political beliefs or viewpoints can be found on his website.

More information about candidate profiles can be found here.

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