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Bernie Sanders: Everything you need to know about the 2020 candidate

Bernie Sanders speaks at a podium
Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is an independent Vermont senator who has created a firestorm amongst Democrats, helping to lead the party's shift to the left. Despite losing the Democratic nomination for president to Hillary Clinton in 2016, Sanders remains popular with voters as he continues to espouse key democratic socialist policies on the main stage of American politics.

Key facts about Sanders

  • Current position: Senator from Vermont — 12 years served
  • Age: 77
  • Born: Brooklyn, New York
  • Undergraduate: Brooklyn College, University of Chicago
  • Date candidacy announced: Feb. 19, 2019
  • % of votes in line with Trump, per FiveThirtyEight: 14.4%
  • Previous roles: House Representative for Vermont's at-large congressional district, Mayor of Burlington, Vermont.

Sanders' stance on key issues:

Key criticisms of Sanders

  • Socialism: That he's too far left. Or that the party has moved past him and he is no longer the only potential candidate who can carry the "progressive" label.
  • Campaign staff sexual misconduct: Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign was plagued by patterns of sexism and inappropriate behavior among members.
  • Age: A recent poll found 43 of Iowa's 76 Democratic county party leaders say they want a young candidate to be their nominee for president in 2020.
  • Lack of loyalty: Despite running for president as a Democrat in 2016, Sanders has always identified as an independent and has said he won't join the party.
  • Pragmatism: Many of Sanders' proposals would need high levels of government spending, creating questions about how feasible some of them actually are.

1 fun thing about Bernie

  • While serving as mayor of Burlington, he recorded a folk album — titled "We Shall Overcome" — with 30 Vermont musicians.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the other 2020 candidates

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