Bernie Sanders was born on September 8, 1941, which means he turns 76 today. Bernie was on Stephen Colbert’s show last night, and though I am not certain where he is celebrating his birthday, it’s possible that he is doing so in New York City, or more specifically in Brooklyn, the place where he was born and spent his childhood.
Bernie is the son of a pair of first and second generation Jewish immigrants of Polish descent. Many of his relatives on his father’s side were killed in the Holocaust, and the rise of Hitler in Germany and the Second World War had a tremendous impact on Bernie Sanders early on, according to an interview he gave to the Christian Science Monitor.
“A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932,” Bernie said. “He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including 6 million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important.”
Bernie Sanders has dedicated his life to fighting for truth and justice. That fight culminated in his 2016 bid to become the Democratic Party’s candidate for President of the United States, a fight he narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton, who eventually lost to Donald Trump in the general election.
While Bernie continues to travel around the country raising awareness for and working in the Senate on his key issues, such as expanding Medicare to cover all Americans, raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, and most recently fighting against Donald Trump’s overturning of the DACA program, Hillary Clinton has unfortunately decided to once again blame Bernie Sanders for her failure to beat Donald Trump in the 2016 election. In excerpts released from Clinton’s forthcoming book, What Happened, Clinton strangely blames Sanders for Donald Trump’s attacks on her and also takes shots at Bernie’s supporters.
Clinton’s maneuvering seems like a calculated ploy to drum up controversy in order to sell more books, and perhaps to try and selfishly repair her damaged legacy at the expense of the future of her party. Bernie’s response, on Stephen Colbert’s program and elsewhere, indicates a stoic dedication to the causes he feels are important. Rather than participate in a relitigation of the 2016 election, Sanders told Colbert that he’s looking forward to the future, and would prefer to see Hillary join him in championing progressive causes aimed at making life better for the American people.
Bernie would have won. That refrain has become a rallying call for Bernie’s supporters after the 2016 election. Poll after poll has found that Sanders is, in fact, the most popular politician in the United States. According to the Independent, a poll conducted in August found that 54 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Bernie Sanders. The same poll shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as being viewed favorably by 42 percent and 41 percent of respondents, respectively.
There are signs that the Democratic Party establishment is starting to wake up to the fact that Bernie Sanders, and more importantly his supporters, are the key to any hope for future electoral victory the party may have. Recently, both Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have signed on to co-sponsor a forthcoming Medicare-for-all Bill Sanders will be introducing in the Senate. Regardless of how Sanders’s most ardent supporters may feel about Harris or Warren, they should see that as a sign that Bernie’s vision is having a major impact on the direction in which the Democratic Party seems to be heading.
So happy birthday, Bernie Sanders. While I and millions of other Americans wish you could be celebrating today with a red, white, and blue cake in the Oval Office, be proud that you have ignited a movement that could very well transform American politics for decades to come.
[Featured Image by Maddie McGarvey/Getty Images]