Bernie Sanders: The Father of Modern Day Liberalism in America

by Eli Mshomi

Bernie Sanders is one of those few politicians in the United States who openly claim to be a socialist in a political scenario dominated by capitalists.

One of the oldest living baby boomers, Bernie Sanders has often raised his voice in the upper chamber for increasing social spending in government, co-authoring a score of bills. But more often than not, he has failed to get the necessary support from his colleagues, who rarely acknowledge his ideas and vision.

Most senators give  Bernie Sanders a tough time 

Being a senator, Sanders sponsored twelve Senate resolutions. Among a number of resolutions that he co-sponsored, 21 became law. But he has had a tough time persuading fellow senators regarding legislation that he sponsored because his beliefs were too far-left to attract most of the Democratic senators.

Thus Bernie Sanders found alternate ways to extend his agenda. As he was unable to promote his vision in its entirety, he often included small provisions of his bigger agenda in other bills which required his vote to get passed through the Senate. Until now, he has lower legislative effectiveness than the average senator of America.

Out of his more than 500 amendments in different bills, many of them became law, as this was the only way he could successfully propagate his agenda.

Bernie Sanders humanitarian agenda

Some of these amendments include banning imported goods made from child labor, giving more than $100 million of funding to community health centers, and assistance to the service members of posttraumatic stress disorder, brain injury, panic attacks, and other prominent mental health disorders.

Bernie Sanders as the father of far-left economic agenda 

Bernie Sanders has a progressive vision in the economic affairs of the country. It could be so extreme at times that even presidents want to distance themselves from him. For instance, recently, Joe Biden publicly announced that he is “not Bernie Sanders,” but a “mainstream Democrat.”

Sanders retaliated back and said that he was not Joe Biden. Back in 2009, Sanders opposed the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that aimed to provide loans to the free-falling banks.

But it was not a surprise, considering that he had been opposing the bailouts of financial institutions and wanted to divert that money toward social spending. But he offered an amendment to the bill and claimed that he would be willing to vote should those votes not displace American workers, and hence the bill was passed.

One of his proposed financial legislation was auditing the federal reserves, which would reduce political clout on this important institution.

Just like other progressives, Bernie Sanders supports relatively open orders compared to the conservative vision of closed ones. He voted for the DREAM Act, ultimately providing a path for undocumented immigrant children.

Healthcare vision of Sanders

The passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the biggest achievement of Bernie Sanders-minded lawmakers. 

It paved the way for progressives to finally incorporate their policy agendas into something that was about to come at any cost.

Sanders funded almost $11 billion to community health centers under the ACA, thus promoting his progressive vision in the health care sector.

Sanders support to labor unions 

Sanders is the senator with the loudest voice regarding wage increases. In this regard, he introduced a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 for federal contractors from the previous amount of $12. Similarly, Sanders introduced the Workplace Democracy Act, which would have increased labor access to unions.

Final Thoughts 

Bernie Sanders has often come at crossroads with wealthy businesses, and this is one of the reasons why billionaires and the wealthy class are reluctant to donate to his campaign.

For his 2020 presidential campaign, a billionaire’s wife donated $470 to Bernie Sanders’s campaign, but the campaign was quick enough to return the money, claiming that they are not interested in billionaires’ money.

He was among some of the most vocal people who spoke against Israel in the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This means that his foreign policy approaches are as liberal as his economic agenda. His like-minded people are present in the US House of Representatives in the form of Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, but in the senate, he is often seen alone fighting with the status quo.

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