Bernie is running for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2016 Presidential Election. This is a fan-supported page with info about him, his ideals, and voting resources for all.
I made this section to compile some of the most frequently asked questions I see regarding his stances on various topics today. These will cover specifics and provide quotes, videos, pictures, and other supporting evidence to give you a clear and well-rounded view point of his actual standings.
Hopefully I can clear up some questions you may have, corroborating links will be provided for all topics.
Please remember, this is by no means a complete list, these are just subjects I see people ask about often enough that I feel I needed to specifically address his viewpoints on them. I am taking submissions on other subjects. Feel free to email me using the link at the top of the page to suggest some!
I also invite you to checkout his two AMAs (Ask me Anything) he has done on Reddit.
Believe it or not, even though the NRA gives Sanders an F rating, if you actually looked into it you would definitely question why. I'm going to first show you his voting record. His www.ontheissues.org stance on gun-control is considered Neutral. If you look at his below voting record you can see that he hasn't voted for or against anything that would make you think he is "anti-gun". Quite the contrary, from this record alone I can see that he is actually OK with gun ownership, but he does think there needs to be limits, he also thinks there needs to be some rules. But really guys, do you actually need to buy a high-capacity magazine firearm so badly that a 3 day waiting limit is absolutely unacceptable?
In addition to that, did you know that Vermont, where Bernie Sanders has been a Senator since 2006, has one of the most lenient gun-control laws in the country? Vermont's gun laws have been relatively unchanged over the years - and it is known as one of the most gun-loving states in our country, so move over Texas. In fact, the state is in an absolute uproar that Sanders recently supported a bill that would expand background checks to also include private sales. I mean, I may be a raging liberal - But I have to agree with the points of the bill.
No one in their right mind can admit that these three items are in any way unreasonable. But I understand your argument - "This is just the beginning!! Soon we have cops busting into our homes stealing our guns and arresting us for just trying to defend ourselves!" (ok, maybe I don't). Here's what you need to understand. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. If you are pissed off that you can't buy a gun with a three day waiting period and a background check - maybe you shouldn't own a gun. If you're a reasonable human being, you'll realize this law wasn't made to deter or prohibit YOU from purchasing firearms. I don't want to sell guns to criminals and crazies, I'm not sure why anyone would.
“If you passed the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don’t think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen,”
"In the one 1990 congressional race in which gun control appeared to be a decisive issue, Bernie Sanders unseated former Rep. Peter Smith, R-Vt., a gun- control supporter whom the NRA had squarely in its sights. Sanders, the only avowed socialist in Congress, voted against the Brady Bill." - Ken Cummins
Just like Gun Control, I'm going to first address Sanders' voting record regarding marijuana. From there we'll dive a bit deeper into some quotes, media, but it should be enough for you to get a good idea of where he stands on the issue. Ontheissues.org gives sanders a +5 - Strongly Opposes - Never legalizing marijuana. Below you can see his voting details on each subject.
Vermont (Bernie's home state) has had legal medical marijuana since 2004. The state also just recently decriminalized possession for up to one ounce in 2013, in 2014 expanded access to medical marijuana for patients, and is looking to legalize it for recreational use in 2015.
Sanders even admits to smoking marijuana, he even inhaled! This article will give you a very good overview of Vermont's current position, as well as Sanders' position for marijuana. He hasn't spoken out against or for straight up "recreational use", however, his voting track record shows us that he is more than in favor of its medical uses. In a statement to TIME magazine, Sanders said he did not see marijuana decriminalization as "one of the major issues facing our country." And while I can't exactly argue with that, we have much bigger issues (and trust me, I'm all for legislation at a federal level). I can't help but to think that Bernie's plans and endeavors to strengthen our social systems would only be strengthened by marijuana taxation.
Some Food For Thought on NASA & Space Travel - this reflects my own thoughts, not those of Sanders.
I also want to draw your attention to this - The Space Shuttle programme has been a multi-billion-dollar failure. Sanders did not write, nor is he mentioned in this, it is just some food for thought while thinking about NASA funding in general. While I don't think at any point our government is going to cease to fund NASA, it DOES seem that they are encouraging the rich investors interested in space to invest their own money to further it. And that only makes sense to me, it goes back to the cycle of:
Billionaire wants something -> "contributes to" officials/candidates -> Candidates/Officials vote for bills that would help Billionaire -> Billionaire gets what he wants -> Government Official gets money -> Everybody wins!
As you can see by the vote picture, Republicans REALLY wanted these billionaires to be able to invest their money, even over safety concerns.. Hmm Where have I seen this before... Oh right, anywhere that involves Wall Street wanting something at no cost.
The TL;DR of the previous article is that NASA's "humans in space" program has cost hundreds of billions of dollars and offered almost nothing in return. It is cheaper, and safer to send robots and machines up there to do our dirty work for us. Which is probably another reason government is passing legislation encouraging billionaires to invest in their own space travel - there are better things to spend money on then sending humans to orbit our planet. At least for now. Launching human-manned shuttles into spaces comes with a price tag of around $5 billion dollars annually, and that is just the shuttle missions.
NASA's budget last year was $17.6 billion dollars. Costs of manned spaceflight accounts for 1/3 of that. We haven't even been back to the moon since our original landing. Computers are getting smaller, faster, smarter, cheaper - it just doesn't make a lot of sense to spend $5 billion annually on launching humans into space when robots are so much more efficient at it.
I know man, so do I. But let me offer this. Our country is $18.2 trillion in debt right now. Let me type that out so you get a better picture of what it looks like.
That is a lot of money. Add our 2015 budget to that and you can add another $564 billion on top of that number. Perhaps if we stopped sending all of our jobs overseas, and started rebuilding our economy internally, we'd have more money to spend on NASA. Unfortunately, I don't have the money to buy a politician to do this, and the one i would buy isn't for sale - so I'm leaving that America to decide.
A lot of people are asking about this, which surprises me greatly. If you just consider his overall message you can pretty much deduce that he'd like nothing more than to slap Comcast and Verizon with some regulations instead of letting them make all of the rules to bankrupt America by upselling dirt cheap services at a 1000% markup and then having he audacity to implement hidden throttling on top of that, while asking for more money from service providers to carry their data. Having said that, I'm going to address it the same as I have other subjects.
This one is tricky, because there isn't a lot of information about it online. I can tell you in 2004, he voted against H.R. 5382 (108th): Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004. At first I thought - huh, that seems silly for him to vote against something that would create jobs. Then I looked at this picture and thought, this is something Republicans really want - hmm.. this sounds shady. So I looked up the actual amendments they wanted to make. Nothing tragic - it is regular old boring stuff about regulating commercial space flight. So I dug deeper. This wonderful man, Jeff Foust, has compiled an entire beginning to end struggle to get this bill through. It was supposed to have been passed on an unanimous vote, but some wording caused the bill to have some "unintended consequences" of "over-regulating the industry before it has even been born." Jeff Foust follows the ammendments through completion and brings you a new summary called "The Safety Dance". The Senate was actually divided over the details of safety regulations surrounding the bill, not the bill itself.
"When HR 5382 came to the House floor in November of last year, there was a spirited debate on the scope of the regulatory authority included in the legislation. The bill’s proponents, including Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), and Nick Lampson (D-TX), argued that the legislation struck a reasonable balance between protection of the public and promotion of the industry. Some, though, including Reps. James Oberstar (D-MN), ranking Democrat on the House Transportation Committee; and Peter DeFazio (D-OR), at the time the ranking Democrat on that committee’s aviation subcommittee, said that stricter regulations ensuring the safety of passengers and crew needed to be in place to avoid creating a regulatory environment that seemed to permit potentially-fatal accidents to occur."
Other than that, Sanders voted in 1996 for a bill that would cut funding to NASA. At that time NASA Funding was ~.9% of the Federal budget, today it is less than .5%. Without more concrete evidence I can't give you a real answer here other than "I'm not sure". But, for all of you single-issue voters running your mouths saying "BERNIE SANDERS VOTED TO CUT NASA FUNDING" - make sure you don't neglect to include this was 20 years ago.