Can Bernie win the election?
Absolutely! Almost every major poll shows Bernie beating Trump, often by large margins.
- Bernie has the ground game to win. Bernie’s solid base of supporters, volunteers and donors are unmatched by any other candidate.
- Bernie has the money to win. Over one million people have already donated to Bernie’s 2020 campaign.
- Bernie has a strategy to win. We are creating a network of supporters with the Bern App and increasing the voter base by reaching out young people, independents, disaffected voters, non voters and working class voters who have given up on the political process.
The campaign and over one million volunteers, like us, are working hard every day to build this grassroots coalition and get them to the polls.
Bernie really helped bring attention to progressive issues but we need him to move out of the way now so someone else can take over?
Bernie built this movement and he continues to lead it. Support for Bernie’s progressive platform is strong and he’s gaining momentum, through organizations like Brand New Congress, that are getting progressive candidates like AOC elected.
People respect and trust Bernie for his decades of consistency and commitment. No one doubts his authenticity, sincerity, and determination to do what he says he’ll do.
Bernie fought for progressive issues when it wasn’t popular or politically expedient. People even laughed at him. His fight is now our fight. And we will fight to get Bernie the nomination and get our platform adopted at the DNC convention in Milwaukee.
Does Bernie have any endorsements?
Yes, Bernie has received plenty of endorsements already. Check out the growing list of Bernie’s endorsements at our Endorsements page, the campaign’s official page and this wikipedia article.
Isn’t Bernie’s campaign essentially over?
Not by a long shot. Bernie’s message of building a grassroots campaign without corporate money, and of course, his progressive stances on all the issues, is resonating with millions of Americans across the country.
Bernie consistently polls with high margins as a candidate who can beat Trump in November. He polls particularly well with working class families in the Rust Belt, which is so critical to winning the 2020 presidential election.
Bernie raised $18 million in the 1st quarter, $18 million in the second and a stunning $25.3 million in the third quarter. Bernie reached 1 million individual donors and 4 million donations earlier than any US campaign in history. Bernie is raising more money from individuals — i.e. not Super PACs — than any other candidate in the race.
Within one week of his announcement, 1 million volunteers signed up to help his campaign phone bank, canvass and text voters in an unprecedented grassroots outreach across the country.
On one weekend in April 2019, the campaign held a kickoff event with over 5,000 organizing parties. In one 10 day period, Call to Win, volunteers made over 1,300,000 phone calls to voters in the early primary states. In October volunteers made another 2,000,000 calls in 2 weeks!
Thousands of people show up at Bernie’s record-breaking rallies. By May 2019, more than 100,000 people attended Bernie rallies and town halls. 25,000 people attended the October 21st Bernie’s Back Rally where AOC endorsed Bernie. These numbers will only continue to get larger and larger.
Indeed, Bernie’s 2020 presidential campaign is proof that we can change the discussion to issues that working families care about and build a political movement around regular people, not just corporations and the wealthy elites!
The most important thing is to defeat Trump. Is Bernie electable?
Yes. Almost every major poll in this election shows Bernie beating Trump, often by very large margins. In 2016 Bernie won 22 state primaries and caucuses and nearly tied in 6 more. Bernie has high approval ratings. People trust Bernie. And most importantly, Bernie has a consistent lifetime record of being right on the issues, then and now.
What can I do to help Bernie win?
The most effective way to help Bernie win is to talk to people about Bernie, canvass, phonebank, donate and volunteer. When people learn about Bernie’s policies and plans, they start to Feel the Bern, just like you do.
Here are some things you can do:
- Join the campaign as a volunteer
- Donate to help Bernie hire organizers and set up field offices.
- Sign up and use the Bern app
- Attend a Bernie event near you
- Wear Bernie gear
- Register to Vote and check your voter registration
- Vote – learn all about the caucus or primary in your state at VoteforBernie.org
If we do the work we win. FEEL THE BERN!
Bernie stayed in the 2016 primary too long. Why didn’t he drop out sooner?
In 2016, Bernie competed for the Democratic nomination from the first caucus in February until the last primary in June. Bernie won 22 states and nearly tied in 6 more. Many of Bernie’s supporters wanted him to fight for the nomination at the DNC convention. He didn’t do that. He endorsed Hillary Clinton, released his delegates and campaigned on her behalf.
One thing to note is that by officially staying in the race until the convention, Bernie was able to force some important and necessary DNC rule changes, such as decreasing the power of superdelegates to directly interfere with the primary process.
How did Bernie respond to the ‘Bernie or Bust’ movement?
At no time did Bernie support the idea of ‘Bernie or Bust’. Bernie always said that he’d work with the democratic candidate if he didn’t win the 2016 primary and that’s what he did. He has made the same pledge of support for the 2020 primary.
Many of the people who supported Bernie in the primary voted for the democratic candidate in November 2016. It’s important to recognize that many Bernie supporters are independents and not traditional democrats. And, of course, this is a democracy and Bernie can’t tell people how to vote. All he can do is ask.
Isn’t Bernie the Reason Trump won?
Absolutely not. Bernie worked hard in 2016 to help defeat Trump. He endorsed Hillary Clinton after the primary season ended and attended numerous events to rally support for the Clinton campaign. Studies show that most Bernie Sanders supporters voted for Hillary Clinton in the General election.
Is Bernie healthy enough to be President?
You’ve probably heard the media talking about Bernie needing a stent to open a blocked artery. This is a common procedure – over 1.8 million stents are implanted in Americans every year. Bill Clinton had a quadruple by-pass at 58 and a stent at 63.
Bernie was in the hospital for a few days then returned to the campaign trail. Bernie’s Back to railing against the corporate elites and demanding that the government start working for working families instead of the 1%.
He never really went anywhere although many in the corporate media tried to discount him. Since the heart attack Bernie is on a roll.
Is Bernie too old to be President?
Over one million donors and one million volunteers don’t think so.
Bernie is building the largest grassroots campaign in history by holding rallies, forums, and meetings every day with voters across the country. He’s held more events than any other candidate all while working at his full time job serving as the junior Senator from Vermont.
Is it true that Bernie hasn’t been able to get any bills passed besides naming a post office?
No, that is not true. Bernie is a legislative giant. He has introduced or co-sponsored over 7,400 bills and amendments.
Luckily Bernie has a long record on these issues so we know he can be trusted to fight for the solutions that matter most to working families.
Why doesn’t Bernie have any new ideas?
I guess you’ve heard Bernie talk about the biggest issues facing working families: expensive healthcare, lack of affordable housing, living paycheck-to-paycheck, working 2 or 3 jobs just to get by, worrying about their children’s education, concern about the climate crisis, money in politics, yada, yada, yada. Yep. Bernie does talk about those issues a lot. And he has a lot of detailed plans, old and new, to solve those problems.
These systemic problems have not been fixed yet – with many of society’s greatest challenges stemming from these key issues – so Bernie continues to talk about them and puts forward legislation to correct these problems. That’s what the Bernie 2020 campaign is about, building a grassroots movement to make the economy and the government work for working families, not just the wealthy elite.
The good news is that Bernie’s ideas are now mainstream ideas. Establishment politicians are finally listening to Bernie, following Bernie’s lead, and agreeing that the time has come to implement the policies Bernie has been fighting for since he entered politics in 1972.
Why is Bernie always yelling?
Because there’s a lot to yell about. He yelled and now they’re listening. It’s finally working.
Since the 1970s Bernie has been yelling about the need for systemic change. Long before it was popular or easy, Bernie was yelling about corporate greed and corruption. For decades while he yelled the political class ignored him and laughed at him. They aren’t laughing anymore. And they can’t ignore us now. His issues, our issues, are now front and center mainstream ideas in the 2020 campaign. Oh, and Bernie yells because he’s a Jewish guy from Brooklyn.
And he doesn’t always yell. Here are some interviews where he speaks in a normal voice:
How is Bernie going to pay for all of these plans?
It’s pretty straight forward:
- Raise more revenue through closing tax loopholes and raising taxes on the ultra wealthy
- Reduce expenses through auditing government agencies and cutting ballooned costs
- Reprioritize spending to reflect what the electorate wants us to spend tax dollars on
The wealthy need to pay their fair share. Corporations need to pay their fair share. We need to stop giving taxpayer subsidies to corporations. We must release the stranglehold of the Military Industrial Complex on government and stop fighting eternal wars.
We can choose to reorient federal budget spending to focus on the needs of working families.
This volunteer created tax calculator will give you an idea of how Bernie’s plans will affect you.
What is Bernie’s plan to reduce Income Inequality?
The main goal of Bernie Sanders’ decades-long career in politics has been to address the root causes of economic inequality. He says: “If we are serious about reforming the tax code and rebuilding the middle class, we have got to demand that the wealthiest Americans, large corporations, and Wall Street pay their fair share in taxes.”
Reducing income inequality includes:
- Pass the ‘For the 99.8 Percent Act’ to establish a progressive estate tax on multi-millionaire and billionaire inheritances.
- Eliminate offshore tax scams through the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act.
- Tax Wall Street speculators through the Inclusive Prosperity Act.
- Scrap the income cap on Social Security payroll taxes through the Social Security Expansion Act so that millionaires and billionaires pay more into the system.
- End special tax breaks on capital gains and dividends for the top 1%.
- Substantially increase the top marginal tax rate on income above $10 million.
- Close tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy and large corporations.
What are Bernie’s positions on issues that are important to women?
Bernie Sanders is a lifelong advocate for women. His is the first major campaign to be unionized and have a union contract that addresses discrimination and pay equity, and workplace harassment. He has consistently voted pro-choice and for the availability of contraception. He has long fought to protect women from domestic violence and sexual abuse, and is unequivocal that women deserve equal pay for equal work — end of story.
Bernie has a 100% rating from NARAL and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Bernie’s fight for women’s rights includes:
- Adopt Equal Pay for Equal Work through the Paycheck Fairness Act.
- Fully fund Planned Parenthood, Title X, and other initiatives that protect women’s health, access to contraception, and the availability of a safe and legal abortion.
- Expand the WIC program for pregnant mothers, infants, and children.
- Oppose all efforts to undermine or overturn Roe v. Wade, and appoint federal judges who will uphold women’s most fundamental rights.
- Immediately reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
- Pass the Equal Rights Amendment: Gender equality should be guaranteed by the Constitution.
- Fight to end sexual harassment in workplaces, the military, and other institutions.
- Protect women from harassment, discrimination, and violence in educational institutions by protecting and enforcing Title IX.
What are Bernie’s Plans to help Latinos?
Bernie’s progressive agenda will work for Latinos and everybody else to create jobs, raise wages, protect the environment, provide healthcare for all, increase access to quality, childcare, pre-K education, K-12 education and higher education, reform our immigration and criminal justice systems, reaffirm our civil rights, promote a more sensible foreign policy, and reduce the influence of money in politics.
Bernie plans to accomplish this by:
- Addressing Racism: The majority of Hispanics are U.S.-born, yet they are often treated as if they are not full citizens. They are often discriminated against based on race and language. Latinos must be treated equally in every aspect of American society.
- Education: Bernie has a pre-K plan, a K-12 Education plan and College for All plan so everyone who wants to can get the education they deserve.
- Close The Race Wage Gap: Latino workers have a harder time finding jobs and they get paid less when they do. Bernie believes wage discrimination based on race is wrong and must end. Structural problems such as racism, mass incarceration, and lower access to education are also to blame, and Bernie has introduced and supported legislation to reform our criminal justice and education systems.
- Youth Employment: High unemployment and underemployment for Latino youths needs to be addressed. Bernie has proposed legislation that would help young people access the job opportunities and training they need to be successful
- Agricultural Labor: Farmworkers are an essential part of the economy, U.S. agriculture depends on them. The treatment, conditions, and pay for these workers must be improved.
- Reform the Criminal Justice System: Latinos are imprisoned at 1.4 times the rate of white Americans. Bernie wants to abolish private prisons, end cash bail and ban discrimination against people with criminal records.
- Immigration: The United States is a nation of immigrants, we must reform our immigration system to invite greater innovation, diversity, and economic opportunity for both American-born citizens and immigrants who want to make this country their home.
Bernie’s plans will work for everybody. We are in this struggle together.
What has Bernie Done to Support the LGBTQ Community?
Bernie Sanders has been a steadfast and reliable supporter of LGBTQ equality throughout his decades of public service. Since 1972, Bernie has been an outspoken ally of the LGBTQ community. When Bernie first ran for office in Vermont in 1972, a plank of his platform proposed abolishing all discriminatory laws pertaining to sexuality. In 1983, after he was elected as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Bernie backed the city’s first-ever pride march. In the 1980s, as mayor of Burlington, Bernie created a Trans Mecca in Burlington.
Bernie voted against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 1993 and the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. The Human Rights Campaign consistently gives him a 100% rating.
LGBTQ Values Are Family Values: Bernie supported gay marriage long before it was politically expedient to do so, and also supports gay adoption.
Addressing Discrimination: Bernie has long cosponsored and voted for legislation that supports the LGBTQ community’s equal rights in schools, the workplace, and the military.
What is Bernie’s Affordable Housing Plan?
Bernie is committed to fighting so that working families will have a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home as a fundamental right. He is calling for a homes guarantee.
Bernie’s Housing for All Plan has detailed policies which include:
- Build the Millions of Affordable Housing Units We Need
- Revitalize Our Public Housing Stock
- Make Rent Affordable
- Protect Tenants
- Combat Gentrification, Exclusionary Zoning, Segregation, and Speculation
- End Homelessness in America
- Fair Housing for All
- Expand Sustainable Homeownership
- Support First Time Homebuyers
- End Predatory Lending and Modern Day Redlining
- Decarbonize Our Housing
Some particularly vital highlights of his comprehensive housing plan focus on building affordable housing for low and moderate-income people, affordable ADA compliant housing for the disabled, build/repair/rehabilitate affordable rental units, assist first-time home buyers, ease the harmful effects of foreclosures and delinquencies, and revitalize neighborhoods in communities hit hard by foreclosures.
Bernie has long supported Section 8 Housing and affordable housing vouchers.
What is Bernie’s Climate Change Plan?
Bernie believes climate change is a global crisis that must be immediately and aggressively combated. He has been calling for Green New Deal measures since 2016 and cosponsored the 2019 Green New Deal legislation in the Senate.
Bernie has introduced his comprehensive Green New Deal plan because he believes that the time for incremental half measures have long passed. We must act now and prioritize our efforts to address the climate crisis. He often refers to it as the “great planetary crisis we now face.”
Bernie stands behind the scientific findings of the National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth assessment report, and the IPCC’s special report on global warming of 1.5℃.
What is Bernie’s immigration plan?
Bernie supports immigration reform that will address the legal status of the roughly 11 million undocumented people in our country. He has released a comprehensive plan A Welcoming and Safe America for All that supports visa reform, securing the border, and protecting both guest workers and undocumented workers from labor exploitation.
Bernie believes that the U.S. should hire “hundreds of new judges” to expedite the processing of asylum claims by immigrants fleeing persecution or violence.
Bernie has spoken out strongly against President Trump’s “Muslim ban,” saying that the ban “has always been a racist and anti-Islamic attempt to ban Muslims from entering this country.” Bernie has called upon Trump to rescind the ban, and has cosponsored seven bills in the Senate to overturn the ban.
The Need for Immigration Reform: America’s immigration system is “profoundly broken” and must be fixed.
Path to Citizenship: We ought to provide a path to legal residency or citizenship for most undocumented immigrants in the country today.
DREAM Act: Bernie supports the path toward permanent residency for young undocumented immigrants.
Visa Reform: Bernie reject the exploitation of workers and the use of visas for cheap, foreign labor. We must increase opportunities for qualified individuals to take steps towards permanent residency.
Border Security: We can and must secure borders without building a fence.
Economic Exploitation: We can have a fair economy that accommodates undocumented immigrants and native-born workers without discrimination and manipulation of wages.
Bernie has released a bold immigration plan, A Welcoming and Safe America for All.
What is Bernie’s plan to deal with Wall Street greed and corruption?
Bernie is calling for Real Wall Street Reform. He believes that we cannot continue to allow our nation’s wealthiest corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. These companies stash tens of billions of dollars in overseas tax havens while receiving billions in government subsidies and exploiting tax loopholes. Bernie believes this is fundamentally unfair and damages our economy. Instead, he argues that multinational corporations and wealthy elites must pay their taxes so we can invest that money in America’s small businesses and working families.
- End Offshore Tax Havens: Corporations must pay their fair share in taxes.
- End Subsidies to Big Business: The most profitable corporations do not need to be subsidized by American taxpayers.
- Overturn Citizens United: Citizens United should be overturned to stop corporations from having an outsized influence on our democracy.
- Support Entrepreneurship and Small Businesses: Instead of giving subsidies to multinational corporations, Bernie wants to support small and medium sized American businesses by providing them access to low-interest loans, access to startup funds, opposing intellectual property regimes, and defending the openness and neutrality of the internet.
What is Bernie’s plan to fix Social Security?
Scrap the cap.
Bernie introduced the Social Security Expansion Act which would:
- Increase Social Security benefits by about $65 a month for most recipients.
- Increase cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients.
- Provide a minimum Social Security benefit to significantly reduce the senior poverty rate.
Bernie’s plan would make the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. Currently, the amount of income subject to the payroll tax is capped at $132,900. That means someone making millions of dollars a year pays the same amount in payroll taxes as some making $132,900 a year. The new legislation would expand the payroll tax to cover income over $250,000. Income between$132,900 and $250,000 would not be subject to the payroll tax. This change would not affect most people. In fact, it would only impact only the top 1.5 percent of all wage earners. Bernie also introduced this plan in 2013 called the Keeping our Social Security Promises Act.
The Social Security Trust Funds have $2.8 trillion, which means there’s enough money to pay all promised benefits until 2033. Bernie believes that his plan to expand the payroll taxes for Social Security would generate enough revenue to support Social Security payments for the next 52 years.
What is Bernie’s plan to make corporations pay their fair share of taxes?
Bernie has a number of plans to make sure the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations pay their fair share of taxes:
- Establish a progressive estate tax
- Pass the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act
- Tax Wall Street speculation
- Eliminate the income cap on Social Security payroll taxes
- End special tax breaks on capital gains and dividends for the top 1%
- Increase the top marginal tax rate on income above $10 million
- Close tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy and large corporations
Large corporations such as Amazon, General Motors, and Prudential pay no taxes at all. Many conglomerates and ultra-wealthy individuals stash their profits overseas to evade taxes. This has to end, Bernie’s plan would do that.
What is Bernie’s racial justice plan?
The fight for Social Justice, Racial Justice, Economic Justice, Criminal Justice, and Environmental Justice have been at the center of Bernie’s political career for decades. His legislative record on racial justice has earned him a 100 percent rating from the ACLU and a 100 percent from the NAACP.
Criminal Justice: The American justice system is crippled by over-incarceration, disenfranchisement, and poor prison conditions, and people of color are disproportionately affected by this situation. A total rehaul is required.
Economic Justice: People of color face systemic discrimination in every aspect of our economy, from education to hiring to compensation. We must create more jobs, raise the minimum wage, and increase access to education and training. We must also expand social safety net programs and guarantee affordable healthcare and nutrition programs so that we enable working families of color to get ahead.
Voting Rights: State by state, our voting rights are increasingly under attack. Various voter suppression tactics very directly affect people of color’s ability to participate in our democratic process. We must combat voter ID laws and felony disenfranchisement.
Housing Discrimination: Residential segregation and lack of access to quality affordable housing has a pervasive and disproportionate impact on people of color.
The Conversation About Race: America’s entrenched history of racial inequality is systemic — and we must confront it head on.
Immigration Reform: As a nation of immigrants, we must reform a system that keeps too many hardworking laborers in the shadows. Fighting for Latino rights and Asian American & Pacific Islander rights has long been part of Bernie’s fight for social justice.
Bernie has released bold plans to address all of these issues including his criminal justice reform plan, Justice and Safety for All.
What is Bernie’s tax plan?
Currently, the super-rich and the largest corporations in America don’t pay their fair share of taxes while receiving corporate subsidies, which means there’s not enough money in the budget to fund programs that will alleviate systemic inequalities and build a stronger and more equitable economy.
The major parts of Bernie’s plan for fairer taxation:
- Progressive income taxes on the richest Americans.
- The 99.8% Tax: a tax on the fortunes of the top 0.2%.
- Taxing corporations so they can’t hide their money in overseas tax havens.
- Taxing Wall Street speculation with a small transaction fee on each trade.
- Taxing capital gains and qualified dividends income as ordinary income.
Bernie has also released an Income Inequality Tax Plan which will help reduce the outrageous disparity between CEO compensation and what the rest of us earn.
What is Bernie’s Plan to protect our elections?
- Restore the Voting Rights Act.
- Secure automatic voter registration for every American over 18.
- Overturn Citizens United.
- End racist voter suppression and partisan gerrymandering.
- Abolish burdensome voter ID laws.
- Re-enfranchise the more than 6 million Americans who have had their right to vote taken away by a felony conviction, paid their debt to society, and deserve to have their rights restored.
- Make Election Day a national holiday.
- Abolish super PACs.
- Replace corporate funding and donations from millionaires and billionaires with public funding of elections that amplifies small-dollar donations.
See Bernie’s other plans to Get Corporate Money Out of Politics.
What is Bernie’s plan to Make Colleges, Universities, and Trade Schools Tuition Free?
Bernie’s plan to do this is to pass the College for All Act to provide at least $48 billion per year to eliminate tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities, tribal colleges, community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs. Everyone deserves the right to a good higher education if they choose to pursue it, no matter their income.
- Provide Pell Grants to low-income students to cover non-tuition costs such as: housing, books, supplies, transportation, and other costs of living.
- Require participating states and tribes to cover the full cost of obtaining a degree for low-income students (normally those with a family income of less than $25,000) by covering any gap that may still exist after we eliminate tuition, fees, and grants.
- Cap student loan interest rates at 1.88 percent.
- Match dollar for dollar any additional spending from states and tribes which reduces the cost of attending school. This money can be used to hire additional faculty and ensure professors get professional development opportunities.
- Triple the funding for the Work-Study Program.
It will be paid for by imposing a tax of a fraction of a percent on Wall Street speculators who nearly destroyed the economy a decade ago. This Wall Street speculation tax will raise$2.4 trillion over the next ten years. It works by placing a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades – 50 cents on every $100 of stock – a 0.1 percent fee on bond trades, and a 0.005 percent fee on derivative trades.
What is Bernie’s plan to forgive Student Debt?
Bernie’s plan will cancel all student loan debt and place a cap on student loan interest rates going forward at 1.88 percent. It will be paid for by imposing a tax of a fraction of a percent on Wall Street speculators who nearly destroyed the economy a decade ago. This Wall Street speculation tax will raise$2.4 trillion over the next ten years. It works by placing a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades – 50 cents on every $100 of stock – a 0.1 percent fee on bond trades, and a 0.005 percent fee on derivative trades.
End Equity Gaps in Higher Education Attainment
Bernie’s plan to make public colleges and universities tuition free includes doubling funding for the TRIO Programs and increase funding for the GEAR UP Program so more low-income students, students with disabilities, and first-generation students can attend and graduate college with a degree. By increasing our investment in these programs, we will reach 1.5 million students through TRIO programs and more than 100,000 additional students through GEAR UP than the program reaches today.
Invest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions
Bernie’s plan to make public colleges and universities tuition free will provide $1.3 billion to private, nonprofit HBCUs and MSIs every year to eliminate or significantly reduce tuition and fees for low-income students. This funding would support some 200 schools which serve at least 35 percent low-income students.
What is Bernie’s K-12 education plan?
Bernie is proposing a complete overhaul of the education system and reinvestment in public schools and teachers with the Thurgood Marshall Education Plan for Public Education.
Bernie believes that teaching should be one of the best paying, not among the worst paying jobs. He is calling for rebuilding the nations infrastructure, especially crumbling and unsafe schools. He believes schools should be able to afford small class sizes and programs like art, music, and physical education. Bernie believes that all children deserve a quality education, taught by qualified teachers, not just those kids who live in wealthy areas.
Bernie strongly opposes the No Child Left Behind Act and has called for a more holistic method of education that gives teachers more flexibility and students more support systems.
The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers strongly oppose vouchers. So, does Bernie, he is against using publicly funded vouchers to pay for children to attend private and religious schools.
Bernie opposes the Student Success Act, which would, according to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), “[take] away resources from students who need them the most”.
Bernie is calling for a ban on for-profit charter schools and a moratorium on the funding for charter school expansion until a national audit on the schools has been completed.
What is Bernie’s plan for Universal Childcare and Universal Pre-K?
As a former preschool educator, Bernie believes that the lack of essential child care for most families is unacceptable. He says, “We must guarantee childcare and universal pre-Kindergarten for every child in America to help level the playing field, create new and good jobs, and enable parents more easily balance the demands of work and home.”
Bernie has made enacting a universal pre-K program a key part of his fight for Working Families and supports investing in early childhood education as well as educational supportive programs. When asked at a CNN town hall whether or not he supported universal pre-K education, Bernie gave a succinct response: “Absolutely.”
Bernie said in 2011,“in a society with our resources, it is unconscionable that we do not properly invest in our children from the very first stages of their lives.” Bernie has called the lack of support for universal early education programs is tantamount to “turn[ing] back on children” and “disgraceful.”
Bernie proposes a tax on Wall Street speculation to pay for universal childcare and universal pre-K.
Does Bernie support capital punishment?
No, he does not.
Bernie’s platform on capital punishment is unequivocal — he wants to abolish the death penalty, he favors life imprisonment over capital punishment. In 2016 the Democratic Party, and Bernie endorsed abolishing the death penalty.
In response to learning that the 166th innocent prisoner had been freed from death row in the U.S., Bernie simply said, “Abolish the death penalty.”
What is Bernie going to do about police brutality?
The question, as Bernie identifies it, is, “How do you have police departments in this country that are part of their communities, not oppressors in their communities?”
Bernie has spoken very strongly on the urgent need for
- Police accountability.
- Demilitarizing the police
- Strong citizens review boards
- Community policing, which “stresses interaction over reaction, de-escalation over brute force, and that police should have a stake in the communities they serve.”
- Police body cameras
What is Bernie’s plan to reform the criminal justice system?
For decades Bernie has argued that mass incarceration is unnecessary and counterproductive. Instead of more jails we should provide education, training, and jobs.
Bernie’s Justice and Safety for All plan is detailed and comprehensive. Here are a few highlights:
- police reform through demilitarization, increased transparency, and accountability
- an end to cash bail
- an end to private prisons
- an end to the drug war, and legalization of marijuana
When Bernie is president we will finally make the required deep and structural investments to rebuild the communities that mass incarceration continues to decimate. We must move away from an overly-punitive approach to public safety and start focusing on how to safeguard our communities, prevent the conditions that lead to arrests, and rehabilitate people who have made mistakes.
Does Bernie want to legalize marijuana?
Yes. Bernie is calling for the legalization of marijuana. He recognizes that criminalization of marijuana as a dangerous drug makes no sense and has caused great harm while massively increasing the prison population.
Bernie is a cosponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019, which would legalize marijuana by removing it from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
He cosponsored the 2019 Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, which would federally decriminalize cannabis. Bernie introduced similar legislation in 2015. He wants to erase marijuana convictions and ‘ban the box’ so employers can’t ask people about convictions when they apply for a job.
Bernie believes states should be responsible for taxing and regulating marijuana the same way they do for the sale of alcohol and tobacco.Bernie cosponsored the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015 to ensure access to banking services for the marijuana businesses that have been denied access.
In 2015, NORML endorsed Bernie for President, for his 2018 Senate reelection campaign, and has given him an “A+” grade based on his legislative track record.
What is Bernie plan to deal with the Opioid Crisis?
Bernie supports preventive measures and funding to increase education and rehabilitation in order to combat the Heroin and Opioid Epidemics. Arresting people with addictions and reducing the accessibility of opioids is an inadequate response to the scope of the problem.
Here are a some of the actions Bernie has taken to deal with this crisis:
- Sponsored the Opioid Crisis Accountability Act on 2018 which aims to establish criminal penalties for drug companies who negligently omit information about the risk of addition in advertising and limits the quantity of opioids that may delivered to each state.
- Voted for the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which would create treatment and recovery programs and fund laboratories to detect imported synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl.
- Sponsored the Community Health Centers and Primary Care Workforce Expansion Act of 2019, which would expand and modernize community health centers in both rural and urban areas to deal with the opioid epidemic.
- Voted for the INTERDICT Act of 2017, which increased the number chemical screening devices available to the U.S Customs and Border Protection Agency to detect fentanyl and other opioids.
- Cosponsored the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016 which focuses on increasing the availability of naloxone, improved prescription drug monitoring programs to detect opioids, and calls for addiction treatment rather than punishment in prison populations.
- Cosponsored the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act of 2019, which provides $6.7 billion for public health departments and communities impacted by the opioid epidemic.
Some other policies that might help with the opioid crisis:
- Medicare for All and Expanding Medicaid so the 20 percent of adults in the U.S. who suffer from chronic pain can seek treatment rather than self medicate and rely on over prescribed painkillers.
- Expand healthcare so there are enough counselors and build more treatment facilities in the affected areas.
- Give workers sick days so they can take time off from work to recover from an injury rather than self medicating to function well enough to do their job. This leads to addiction.
- Some overdoses can be prevented by making naloxone more readily available.
- Safe injection sites and needle exchange programs can be an important way to alleviate some of the suffering, reduce public health risks, and provide services to addicts who desperately need them.
Does Bernie want to destroy our capitalist system?
Bernie does not want to nationalize private businesses. He wants serious systemic changes to industries that should not have a profit motive like healthcare, defense and criminal justice.
Bernie has said: “What this political revolution looks like is people reaching out to their friends and neighbors, talking about the issues that deeply affect their lives and bringing them into the political process. When we do that, we can accomplish extraordinary things for our country.”
If Bernie is elected will the economy collapse?
No, there is no evidence that this will happen.
Bernie’s 2020 Presidential Platform includes many Wall Street reforms, that will strengthen markets and protect against future crashes, like the one in 2008 that caused such suffering for so many working families.
Bernie’s Plan for Real Wall Street Reform includes:
- Break up too-big-to-fail banks
- End the too-big-to-jail doctrine
- Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act
- Cap credit card consumer loans interest rates at 15% with a No Loan Sharking Law
- Allow every post office to offer basic, affordable, and nondiscriminatory banking services
- Cap ATM fees
- Audit the Federal Reserve
- Restrict rapid-fire financial speculation with a financial transactions tax
- Reform credit rating agencies
- Create an Employee Ownership Bank
Why does Bernie talk about income inequality all the time?
The super-rich and large corporations do not pay their fair share in taxes, instead they horde their wealth and stash it in overseas tax havens. Bernie wants to reform the tax code by removing tax loopholes and tax breaks that only benefit the rich and large corporations, raising the tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, taxing the fortunes of the top 0.2%, taxing capital gains and qualified dividends income as ordinary income, and taxing Wall Street speculation.
With a tax system reformed in these ways, the profits generated by the economy will benefit everyone and we will have the resources to fund good schools, affordable housing, a modernized infrastructure, healthy communities and a system that can treat the poor, elderly and sick with the dignity that they deserve.
Why is Bernie against Free Trade agreements?
Bernie opposed NAFTA, PNTR with China and TPP because American trade policy should place the needs of American workers and small businesses first.
Free trade is not the same thing as Fair trade. Free Trade focuses on reducing trade barriers while Fair trade, which is what Bernie supports, focuses on workers and working conditions.
In Bernie’s words: “Our trade deals were written by large multinational corporations for multinational corporations. Trade is a good thing. But we need a trade policy that works for working families, not just large corporations.
What is Bernie’s healthcare plan?
Bernie believes that health care is a human right and the best way to ensure everyone is covered is with a universal single-payer system, Medicare for All. He plans to accomplish this is by expanding Medicare coverage to all Americans. Medicare already successfully delivers healthcare coverage for those over 65, nearly 15% of the U.S. population, around 44 million people.
This is how Medicare for All will be phased in:
- In the first year the eligibility age for Medicare will decrease to 55
- the second year to 45
- the third year to 35
- the fourth year to everyone
This is how the cost of Medicare for All will be paid for while reducing the overall cost of healthcare
- The personal payments of high premiums, copays, deductibles will be eliminated
- Prices for healthcare services will be negotiated as they currently are for Medicare
- Everyone will pay a certain percentage of income into the Medicare fund
- Employers will pay a certain percentage on their employees income into the Medicare Fund
This is how Medicare for All will change the current healthcare system and expand coverage:
- Increase Access & Choice: Patients can see the doctors they want because no doctors will be “out of network”
- Increase Coverage: Covers primary and preventive care, mental health care, reproductive care, vision, hearing and dental care, and prescription drugs, as well as long-term services for the disabled and elderly.
- Improve Quality: Allows doctors to make decisions in the best interest of patients not to deliver profits to insurance companies.
- Reduce Prescription Drug Costs: Lowers prices dramatically, by empowering the federal government to negotiate with pharmaceutical corporations.
- Eliminate Out-Of-Pocket Costs: No premiums, deductibles or copays for any medical services.
- Empower People: Separates health coverage from employment, so everyone will have more flexibility to change employers, or even consider starting their own business, without the risk and fear of losing their health benefits.
What is Bernie’s plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs?
Bernie believes we must invest in the development of new drugs and technologies that cure disease and alleviate pain—not wasting hundreds of billions of dollars a year on profiteering, huge executive compensation packages, and outrageous administrative costs.
- Allow Medicare to negotiate with the big drug companies to lower prescription drug prices with the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act.
- Allow patients, pharmacists, and wholesalers to buy low-cost prescription drugs from Canada and other industrialized countries with the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act.
- Cut prescription drug prices in half, with the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, by pegging prices to the median drug price in five major countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan.
Why is Medicare for All necessary? Why not expand the affordable care act and create a public option?
Obamacare – aka the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – was a small victory for the uninsured, but healthcare and prescription drug costs have continued to soar — along with insurance company and pharmaceutical company profits. 70% of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, now support Medicare For All.
Our current system is a combination of employer-based insurance and private insurance, a profit-driven system that sees prices increase and coverage decrease. Those who purchase coverage under the ACA are covered by private insurance. Despite the promise that healthcare would become more affordable, that hasn’t really happened. Prices and out-of-pocket costs are far too high, and getting higher. Millions of Americans remain uninsured and underinsured.
Bernie voted for the Affordable Care Act, but he believes it does not go far enough to provide adequate healthcare for all. Still, Bernie voted against the 2017 effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act because it would have thrown millions of people off their private insurance plans.
Medicare for All would remove the profit motive, increase healthcare efficiency and make sure every single American is taken care of. Bernie believes this is the best way to cover everyone, and 70 percent of Americans agree.
Is Bernie a Democrat?
Bernie is not technically a member of the Democratic Party but he caucuses with the Democrats and has done so during his entire congressional career. He ran on an Independent ticket for mayor of Burlington and Senator of Vermont.
However, Democrats rely on his vote to pass legislation and vote for legislation that he introduces. He serves in the Senate Democratic Leadership as the Chairman of Outreach.
The Democratic leadership has named Bernie to key positions: ranking, or lead, member on the Senate Budget Committee,Veterans Affairs Committee, and numerous other committees and subcommittees.
Is Bernie a Socialist?
Bernie is a democratic socialist, sharing a lot of ideals with European and Scandinavian democratic socialist political parties. The right-wing media often tries to portray his policy positions as the same as those held by failed, authoritarian regimes – which is not the case.
Here’s what Bernie says: “What democratic socialism means to me is we expand Medicare, we provide educational opportunities for all Americans, we rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, in other words, Government serves the needs of all people rather than just wealthy campaign contributors”
The last person with similar political beliefs who ran for president was Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) and his policies — via the New Deal.
Is Bernie is too radical to get elected?
Not at all.
Bernie and a majority of American voters share the same views on the most important issues facing our families, communities, country, and planet today, according to polling data. Here are just a few examples:
- Bernie and 68 percent of Americans believe the super-wealthy pay too little in federal taxes.
- Bernie and 85 percent of all business owners agree with closing all overseas tax loopholes.
- Bernie and 68 percent of Americans think we should close tax loopholes for corporations who offshore jobs.
- Bernie and 65 percent of Americans want to expand Social Security benefits.
- Bernie and 3 out of 4 Americans, including Republicans, want Medicaid expanded.
- Bernie and 65 percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage.
- Bernie and 6 in 10 Americans, including half of Republicans, think employers should offer paid sick leave.
- Bernie and 3 out of 4 Americans, including a majority of Republicans, say employees should be offered paid time off after childbirth.
- Bernie and 64 percent of Americans want strict carbon limits on existing coal plants.
- Bernie and 80 percent of Americans support expanded access to lower-cost student loans.
- Bernie and 3 in 4 Americans support more spending on our nation’s infrastructure.
- Bernie and 84 percent of Americans, including 90 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans, believe money has too much influence in U.S. politics
- Bernie and 70 percent of Americans support Medicare For All.
- Bernie and more than 80 percent of Americans, including 92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans, support a Green New Deal.
Bernie and the American people have cared about these issues for decades.
Did Bernie really vote against the Amber Alert Bill?
Yes, though not for the reasons some people think. Bernie is a strong supporter of the Amber Alert program and signed onto a 2004 letter to the House leadership requesting full funding for it. Why did Bernie vote against it then? A senator put in a provision that infringed on judicial powers and created mandatory sentencing which led to mass incarceration of non-violent offenders.
Here’s a link to the discussion in the Senate about the Feeney amendment where you can read about the civil rights concerns. The ABA, 618 criminal law professors, 8 former U.S. attorneys, and then Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist all feared making this amendment the law.
Bernie strongly supported the Amber Alert notifications legislation. However, Bernie was concerned that the controversial add-on sentencing provisions would do “serious harm to the basic structure of the sentencing guideline system” used by federal judges “and would seriously impair the ability of courts to impose just and reasonable sentences.”
And so he voted against it. He ignored the political backlash and took the vote because it was the right thing to do. Bernie has done this with numerous votes where he chose to take a principled stance instead of cowering to political pressure. And it turned out he was right, sentencing guidelines have contributed to mass incarceration.
Did Bernie vote for the Crime Bill?
Yes. The 1994 Crime Bill, which was sponsored and pushed by Senator Joe Biden provided$10 billion in funding for prisons and created the three strikes law.
Bernie denounced an earlier version of the bill as “a punishment bill, a retribution bill, a vengeance bill.” He has always maintained that instead of putting our money into prisons, we should attack the root causes of crime by investing more in education and economic development.
At the time Bernie said, “this is not a perfect bill”, but felt parts of the bill including the Violence Against Women Act, were tremendously important.
Bernie said at the time, “I have a number of serious problems with the Crime Bill, but one part of it that I vigorously support is the Violence Against Women Act. We urgently need the $1.8 billion in this bill to combat the epidemic of violence against women on the streets and in the homes of America.”
Listen to Bernie explain the importance of this provision as the reason for his support of the Crime Bill.
Why did Bernie vote against the Brady Bill?
When Bernie ran for Congress in 1993 his platform included a pledge to oppose the Brady Bill. Bernie won that election and kept the promise he made to the Vermont citizens who elected him.
Bernie supports a federal ban on assault weapons and bump stocks and instant background checks to prevent firearms from finding their way into the hands of criminals.
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