Vetting Bernie Sanders

Sanders says he’s the lifelong progressive, an independent, a democratic socialist. He says he’s long been committed to and has long advocated progressive values. He says he can inspire a political revolution that will even the playing field that has for too long made the rich richer and the poor poorer. He says Clinton is a hawk and always has been (remember, he says, she voted for the war in Iraq and he didn’t) because he’s pure, and right, and is running for the people of the US.

Until very recently,Sanders has been free to build this narrative and show off his progressive bona fides without any vetting. He’s given the same stump speech so many times, his supporters can now anticipate and chant what comes next.

But Bernie Sanders is a politician and, like most politicians, he has a voting record that tells us about some of the decisions he isn’t touting on the stump.

Sanders voted for NRA-backed laws to give gun manufacturers legal immunity
In both 2003 and 2005, when he was in the House, Sanders voted in favor of a measure to prohibit lawsuits against firearm makers. The second measure eventually became law.

The 2003 measure was never voted on in the Senate, but when it came up in the Senate in 2005, Clinton voted against it.

Sanders voted to allow guns on Amtrak
In 2009, Sanders, by then a senator, voted to allow firearms in checked baggage on Amtrak trains, as an amendment to the congressional budget. The amendment passed.

Clinton, by then serving as secretary of state, did not vote on the amendment.

Sanders voted against comprehensive immigration reform in 2007
While Sanders’ presidential campaign website says he would “sign comprehensive immigration reform into law to bring over 11 million undocumented workers out of the shadows.”

However, he wasn’t always in support of comprehensive immigration reform. In 2007, when George W. Bush was president, Sanders joined with some conservative Republicans in opposing a comprehensive immigration bill. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., went down in defeat.

At the time, Sanders worried that an influx of legal immigrants would lower wages for workers. Yes, Bernie Sanders opposed an immigration bill that was favored by immigration activists.

In fact, his vote and some of discourse since on the issue, has resulted in praise from some folks Sanders’s supporters likely find abhorrent. None other than Rep. Steve King of Iowa, the fringe of the lunatic fringe pro-life co-chair of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign who has dismissed global warming as a hoax and repeatedly supported shutting down the federal government, praised Sanders’ immigration stance several times in August.

I admire Bernie’s passion and I notice that his immigration position is closer to mine than it is some of the presidential candidates on the Republican side.

For the record, Hillary Clinton  voted for the immigration bill, as did then-Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Sanders voted to dump Vermont’s nuclear waste in a majority Latino community in Sierra Blanca, Texas
In 1998, the House of Representatives approved a compact between Texas, Vermont and Maine that would allow Vermont and Maine to dump low-level nuclear waste at a designated site in Sierra Blanca, Texas. Sanders, at the time representing Vermont in the House, co-sponsored the bill and actively ushered it through Congress.

Located about 16 miles from the Mexican border, Sierra Blanca’s population is predominantly of Mexican ancestry. At the time, the community was about two-thirds Latino, and its residents had an average income of $8,000.

Yes, Bernie Sanders whose campaign is built around this grand premise of giving power back to the people, when he had in his power an opportunity to give power back to the poor Latino community of Sierra Blanca, turned his back on them and supported what constitutes environmental racism.

This is what I found with the Google in the few spare moments I had today. Someone with more time, or perhaps whose job it is to vet political candidates could certainly find more.

So here’s the deal, feel the Bern all you want but understand this: Bernie Sanders has a long record as an elected official that shows what he actually supports and doesn’t support.

PS  Read this: Dear Bernie, I Like You, but These Red Flags are too Frequent to Ignore and this piece about the kind various Super PACs supporting Sanders


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5 Responses to Vetting Bernie Sanders

  1. Okay, so Bernie’s human, and a politician. You really don’t want to go down the road of comparing his missteps to Hillary’s, do you? This comment would expand to the length of a book. The most important thing is to elect a Democrat as President. If she wins the primaries, I’ll vote for her, holding my nose, but I’ll do it. I expect the same in return if he wins the nomination.

  2. Katherine H says:

    I agree that electing a Democrat is the most important thing we have to do. I will support whomever is party’s nominee, and I will work to GOTV. My point here isn’t who’s the better candidate (I may make this argument at some other time), but rather that we need to fully vet our candidates whomever they are. If I can do a quick search and find this stuff, imagine what the GOP will dig up? Hillary Clinton’s life has been GOP fodder for decades; we need to be sure if Bernie Sanders is our candidate, voters know what’s coming as well.

  3. josephine715 says:

    Here is what Bernie Sanders believes on gun policy:
    In one interview he stated he voted against manufacturer liability because it also would have held small gun shop owners liable, even if they followed all laws regarding selling guns, if someone they sold a gun to used that gun in a criminal act. I can’t say I disagree with that. I also don’t see why unloaded and secured firearms in checked luggage is bad.
    And regarding that immigration bill, you really need to Google harder there. Latino activists also opposed it. That’s why he’s getting their endorsements:

  4. I am a Canadian and I think that I could very well run for President in the US. Bernie Sanders has promised free health care and free college tuition for young people, that is why he is getting so many of their votes. I know that if my platform was to inform everyone that as President I would give them all $5,000.00 I am sure that I would get everyone’s vote. I feel that his promises to young people are not attainable and that is the only reason they are voting for him.

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