Explaining Bernie Sanders, Who Has Probably Made You Mad at Some Point

Do you wish you knew more about every Democrat running for president? But you also have a life or at least pretend to and don’t want to waste the little precious moments you have Googling my two-dozen wretched sons and daughters? (Tough, but fair.) Not to worry—I’ve taken on the task of explaining what you need to know about each of the 2020 candidates in 60 seconds or less.

Last time around, Bernie Sanders started his run for the Democratic nomination as an obscure independent politician from Vermont. Now, everyone can name his last five albums. But will this help him actually win?


Producer: Phoebe Bradford, Creative Producer: Cuong Ngo, Senior Producer: Jennifer Perry, Camera: Santiago Garcia



Maybe Bernie will, somehow, do better by marginalized groups in a national leadership position than he did on the state level. A lot of leaders in Vermont are frustrated that he continues to drop the ball on inclusivity:

Vermont is known as a progressive safe haven. However, some of our citizens struggle to connect personal experience to this sentiment. The purpose of publicizing these feelings is not to throw shade at the national progressive movement that Senator Bernie Sanders is trying to foster, but to point out that Vermonters in marginalized positions- be they poor, disabled, LGBTQ, people of color, indigenous, immigrant or non-mainstream in other facets of identity, help to create this state and make it what it is, yet still, we find ourselves excluded from the movement. This is an awkward juxtaposition. To call out when we have been excluded invariably elicits an accusation of sabotage, selfishness, or saltiness. To ignore it is to relegate ourselves to invisibility, thus fortifying the very systemic inequity the progressive movement works to deconstruct. It is with this in mind that I write the following:


Marching with MLK a long time ago is something that everyone—even some Republicans—will applaud. Addressing the racial tensions and ongoing injustices today is what divides people. Bernie is never going to risk alienating that white male vote.

During a high-profile debate over a Confederate Army mascot at Brattleboro Union High School, for example, where the “Stars and Bars” flag used to be flown at many of the school’s sporting events, Reed said “Bernie was silent.”


If Bernie emerges as the candidate, that’s honestly fine. I’ll vote for him and I’ll stop criticizing him the moment he gets the primary nomination (and I’ll start criticizing him again once he’s in office). But I’m going to need him to drop the holier-than-thou act. He’s a politician. He’s out there politicking as hard as anyone else. He voted to bury nuclear waste in a poor Latinx community.