Bernard Sanders (born September 8, 1941) is an American politician and activist who has served as the junior United States senator from Vermont since 2007 and as the U.S. representative for the state's at-large congressional district from 1991 to 2007. He will become Vermont's senior senator and dean of its congressional delegation following the scheduled retirement of Patrick Leahy in January 2023. He is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history, although he has a close relationship with the Democratic Party, having caucused with House and Senate Democrats for most of his congressional career. Sanders unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States in 2016 and 2020, finishing in second place in both campaigns. Before his election to Congress, he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont.
Sanders self-identifies as a democratic socialist and has been credited with influencing a leftward shift in the Democratic Party since his 2016 presidential campaign. An advocate of social democratic and progressive policies, he is known for his opposition to economic inequality and neoliberalism. On domestic policy, he supports labor rights, universal and single-payer healthcare, paid parental leave, tuition-free tertiary education, and an ambitious Green New Deal to create jobs addressing climate change. On foreign policy, he 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. Sanders supports workplace democracy, and has praised elements of the Nordic model. Some commentators, such as Noam Chomsky, have described his politics as aligned with the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and left-wing populism.