Bernard Sanders (born September 8, 1941) is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Vermont since 2007. The longest-serving Independent in congressional history, he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990 and caucuses with the Democratic Party, enabling his appointment to congressional committees and at times giving Democrats a majority.
Sanders was born and raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, and attended Brooklyn College before graduating from the University of Chicago in 1964. While a student he was an active protest organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the civil rights movement. After settling in Vermont in 1968, Sanders ran unsuccessful third-party political campaigns in the early to mid-1970s. As an independent, he was elected mayor of Burlington – the state's most populous city – in 1981, by a margin of ten votes. He was reelected mayor three times. He won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990, representing Vermont's at-large congressional district, and co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He served as a Representative for 16 years before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. He has been reelected to the Senate twice: in 2012 and 2018.
On April 30, 2015, Sanders announced his campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Initially considered a long shot, he went on to win 23 primaries and caucuses and approximately 43% of pledged delegates, to Hillary Clinton's 55%. His campaign was noted for its supporters' enthusiasm, as well as for his rejection of large donations from corporations, the financial industry, and any associated Super PAC. On July 12, 2016, he formally endorsed Clinton in her general election campaign against Republican Donald Trump, while urging his supporters to continue the "political revolution" his campaign began.
A self-described democratic socialist and progressive, Sanders is pro-labor rights and emphasizes reversing economic inequality. He advocates for generous government-provided benefits such as universal and single-payer healthcare, paid parental leave, and tuition-free tertiary education. On foreign policy, Sanders broadly supports reducing military spending, pursuing more diplomacy and international cooperation, and putting greater emphasis on labor rights and environmental concerns when negotiating international trade agreements.