As Hillary Clinton and her Democratic establishment surrogates utilize Republican talking points and attacks in their war on Bernie Sanders, it’s worth highlighting the striking phenomenon of Republicans who either support Bernie Sanders’ bid for the presidency or respect him for being a principled pragmatist despite their political differences. And this phenomenon is no longer anecdotal — Sanders won 2,095 votes in the Republican primary in New Hampshire, more than 50% of the write-in vote.
What follows is a compilation of videos, written material, and social media accounts that fall under this broad heading. Hopefully this compilation will prove useful to people who come from conservative political backgrounds or who operate in conservative political environments.
“Negotiating with Bernie was not a usual experience, because he is very passionate and he and I are both very strong-willed people and we spend a lot of time banging our fists on the table and having the occasional four-letter word,” McCain said. “But at the end of the day, Bernie was result-oriented.”
Marco Rubio (R-FL) defended Sanders at a town hall last fall when someone asked if there was any difference between Sanders’ socialism and the Cuban communism Rubio’s family fled:
“In fairness, they fled communism. There is social democracy, right, like you see in Europe, where government provides for every aspect of your life, but there’s consequence to that. They fled communism, which is beyond socialism, obviously where government controls society, but also government controls politics, life, the banning of religion, people were being executed.
“What I appreciate about Bernie is he’s not trying to shirk from it. It’s what he believes in. He’s honest about it… I don’t personally have a problem with [Sanders] because he’s being honest about what he believes in. I’d love to have that debate.”
“Bernie Sanders is unique,” Inhofe says, “in that most of the Democrats I know in the Senate vote liberal and press-release conservative. Not Bernie. He’s a proud, in-the-heart, sincere liberal. I’ve never heard him once say something that didn’t come from his heart. That’s not true with all the people running for president, Democrats and Republican. I hold him in high regard.”
“I learned early on not to be automatically dismissive of a Bernie Sanders initiative or amendment.”
“I think he’s very outspoken in terms of where he is ideologically. But when he gets down to the need to get legislation into law, then I find him to be one who’s willing to sit down and compromise and negotiate to get to a final product.”
“He is very open and honest as he goes through the process,” Miller said. “You know where Bernie is coming from.”
A Washington Post article on Sanders’ long-standing support among Vermont Republicans:
Two political signs are in the grass — for Jim Douglas, the Republican governor, and for “Bernie,” the socialist.
Frankie Paquette, 63, asks you to sit in his kitchen while his wife, Millie, knits. He’s a wiry millworker whose mill moved south of the border three years ago. He subsists on odd jobs and no health insurance, hoping to limp to 65 and Medicare. He’s talked with Sanders twice and the congressman’s office helped him obtain college loans for his sons.
“Bernie’s got really crazy ideas,” Paquette says. “But he’s for the little guy who ain’t got three dollars for gasoline in February. That’s me and I’m for him.”
The Boston Globe reported on how Sanders “out-Republican the Republicans” as mayor of Burlington:
Frederick J. Bailey is a conservative man. Fresh out of college, he volunteered for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and became an avid reader of the National Review. When he went to work as a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch, his goal was “to prosper.”
And so when the baby-faced Bailey became a member of the Burlington Board of Aldermen at age 28, he was stunned to find himself sitting across from socialist Mayor Bernie Sanders. Like many conservatives in town, Bailey had dismissed Sanders as a “kook” when he became mayor in 1981 and presumed he would not last long.
But here it was four years later and Bernie, as everyone called him, was still there, sitting under his beloved portrait of Socialist Eugene Debs in City Hall.
Bailey, a banker’s son, disagreed with some of what the wild-haired mayor said, but on the bigger issues, like keeping property taxes down, they saw eye to eye. To the fury of his Republican colleagues, Bailey began to vote with the mayor.
“Other people just could not look beyond that socialist shtick of his. I just never took it seriously,” said Bailey, who later became the chairman of the board. “The truth is, he was a very decent mayor. It is a nitty-gritty job of day-by-day executive decisions and he did it well. He got things done.”
Sanders, the unyielding ideologue, who once read Fidel Castro’s biography during a crucial meeting in City Hall, turned out to be a pragmatic and efficient administrator, one so fiscally conservative that some Republicans say he managed to “out-Republican the Republicans.” He just did it his way.
Determined to find alternatives to the property tax, which he considered regressive, he had municipal attorneys pore over the city charter in search of novel revenue sources. When he found the city’s insurance contracts had been repeatedly awarded to the same local companies, he applied a “radical socialist concept, competitive bidding,” as he later jokingly described it, and saved the city thousands of dollars.
Conservatives grumbled when Sanders put his sneaker-clad feet up on the table, but when his new treasurer discovered a $1.9 million surplus hidden in the budget, they grew quiet.
Dennis Pittser Jr. who lives in Midland, Beaver County Pennsylvania and was very active in local Republican politics wrote an essay explaining why he supports Sanders:
Why do I support Bernie Sanders? For me, Bernie Sanders is the antithesis of what it means to be a politician. I see him riding a train back and forth to Washington, pictures of him walking to the Capitol and flying coach! I see what our political system was supposed to be when the founding fathers created it – and now I know what has become of it. I’m tired of the two parties jousting over inane details and forgetting the plight of everyone else. Bernie, to me, knows what I’m facing trying to raise my family. He can empathize with my struggle. He truly wants me to be able to have the American dream. We’ve tried it the Republican and Democrat way for decades and the only thing we have done is tilt the table in favor of the ruling elite. It’s time for everyone to get a fair share and for everyone to stop living hand to mouth. Trump likes to say he will “Make America Great Again” but, it can never be great again unless everyone is brought along.
Bernie will bring us back to greatness by including everyone. …
If something doesn’t change – and soon – I’ll never see an iota of the success that my parents had. I’m witnessing the decline of America, its systematic de-evolution. We need a middle class. We need checks and balances. We need a safety net. I belong to the party that is counter to everything I believe. I have worked towards electing people that stand for the very things I now see have put me in this situation. I mindlessly toed the line, I voted party line. But, I wonder if my story is really any different than most voters in America?
But this time round will be different – I will vote for someone I know I can trust – and I hope you do to. It’s time to ignore our blind party allegiances and elect someone who will stand up for the greater good.
Bernie Sanders is the candidate for me, you and everybody.
Social Media Accounts:
- Jim Sheets’ YouTube Channel.
- GOPforSanders Twitter.
- Republicans for Bernie Twitter.
- Republicans for Sanders reddit.
- Republicans for Bernie Facebook.
Conservatives who support Bernie Sanders create a site to share their stories:
This post was inspired and partially compiled by the reddit user Dan_The_Manimal. This post will be updated whenever new, relevant material comes to light.