As most political observers know, Bernie Sanders has made his rep by being a man of the people. The Democratic senator from Vermont has long been an advocate of social justice and racial equality. He’s also argued against tax breaks for both rich individuals and corporations.
As many have pointed out, though, Sanders’ own bank account and real estate holdings tell a different story. He’s definitely a one-percenter, so let’s take a dive into the discrepancies between his beliefs and his bottom line.
A Brooklyn native who was born in 1941, Sanders comes from a working class background. His father was a paint salesman, and Sanders was raised Jewish. He went to Brooklyn College initially, then transferred to the University of Chicago, and he graduated with a degree in political science in 1964.
His penchant for politics came out early and often. Sanders joined the Young People’s Socialist League, and he participated in many rallies and sit-ins. He was very much a child of the 60s, and one of his highlight moments was making the trip to Washington, DC to see Martin Luther King deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Sanders moved back to New York once he graduated, and after that he went north to Vermont, where he penned articles for the state’s alternative weekly.
Politically, he shot high, running for governor of Vermont, then a spot in the senate and losing both times. Sanders finally hit pay dirt when he was narrowly elected mayor of Burlington, the state’s largest city.
He was reelected three times and acquired a reputation for being outspoken and an advocate of socialist policy decisions.
The jump to DC seemed unlikely, but Sanders made it to the House of Representatives as an independent in 1990.
He continued to be outspoken, speaking out against the wealthy and acquiring a reputation as “the amendment king” for his penchant for drafting legislative alterations.
Sanders made it to the senate in 2007, and as his political profile increased, Sanders enhanced his reputation as a liberal firebrand.
His watershed moment came in 2015 when he ran for president, relying on grassroots contributions to finance his campaign.
Sanders lost in 2015 and 2020, of course, but when he raised a total of $96 million for his campaign, the contradictions between his platform and his wealth became even more obvious.
Bernie Sanders Net Worth
As of 2022, Bernie Sanders has a net worth of $3 million. The financial side of his “man of the people” routine isn’t exactly based on the robin hood model.
He owns a townhouse in DC that’s worth over $500,000, another house in Vermont that’s worth almost that and a house on Lake Champlain that’s worth nearly a million dollars as well.
Those numbers pale compared to many of his legislative colleagues, of course, but Sanders has taken plenty of justified criticism related to his financial standing as a one-percenter.
Sanders has been married twice, once to his college sweetheart, Deborah Shiling, back in the 60s, and then again to Jean O’Meara Driscoll in 1988, and he’s been a stepfather to her three children. In between marriages, he also fathered a biological child, Levi, with a woman named Susan Mott.
The final tally includes seven grandchildren, and Sanders has also fathered six books, one of which is a published version of a filibuster speech for which he became famous.
His presidential window seems to have come and gone, but Sanders remains an active leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic party, much to the chagrin of many moderates who consider him a considerable thorn in their collective sides.