Bernie Sanders is hypocritical on most significant campaign issues

Bernie Sanders is hypocritical on most significant campaign issues
© Stefani Reynolds

Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio New study: Full-scale 'Medicare for All' costs trillion over 10 years MORE has created a successful political career by denigrating capitalism and its millionaires and billionaires, when the fact is he himself is a member of this elite class he despises. If Sanders were the authentic socialist he believes himself to be, he would have divvied up his wealth and given it to those most in need, or in the very least paid a 43 percent tax rate consistent with his own tax plan for those making over $500,000.

The problem with Sanders is that he did neither, and his own tax returns released this month show that he only really paid an effective tax rate of 26 percent. President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE rightly called him out for this hypocrisy, but the “do as I say, not as I do” approach Sanders has taken does not just apply to capitalism. He is equally disingenuous on climate and women.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sanders regularly preaches about the dangers of carbon dioxide as a key driver of climate change, which he describes as the “single greatest threat facing our planet.” But by his own account and elitist preference, he flies around on private jets that produce far more carbon emissions compared to flying commercial. Not to mention, his three houses add up to a much higher carbon footprint than those of average citizens.

On women, his 2020 campaign site lists rights of women as one of his top issues, yet a quick review of his record reveals that Sanders is a passive enabler of the status quo at best and an outright fraud at worst. He not only failed to address allegations of sexual harassment by women who worked for him during his failed 2016 campaign, but Vermont is the only state in the nation has never elected a woman to Congress. Instead, the Green Mountain State is represented by three septuagenarians. Sanders is 77, while Senator Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyRand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter Senator questions agencies on suicide prevention, response after Epstein's death in federal custody During impeachment storm, senators cross aisle to lessen mass incarceration MORE is 79, and Representative Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchDemocrats see John Bolton as potential star witness Democrats plow ahead as Trump seeks to hobble impeachment effort Democrats claim new momentum from intelligence watchdog testimony MORE is 71.

In his 28 years of living off taxpayer dollars, Sanders has achieved very little beyond enriching himself. If Sanders really cared about elevating women, he would resign his Senate seat and dedicate himself to the campaign. This would be a step toward giving women in his state a chance. Vermont senator Ginny Lyons described them as a “fabulous collection of women” who would do a “remarkable job in Congress.”

Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum aside, the media will continue to let Sanders get away with his hypocritical agenda and not press him with serious questions. More frustrating, the media will never give the Trump administration the credit it deserves for advancing each of these interests in ways that actually matter. On climate, the United States leads the world in environmental progress. We have the cleanest air on record, invested billions of dollars to rebuild clean water infrastructure, and achieved the largest decline of greenhouse gas emissions than any other country.

President Trump has elevated more women to positions of prominence in the White House and across the entire administration than his Republican and Democratic predecessors. Importantly, these professionals were not elevated because they are women, but rather because they are brilliant strategists, thoughtful economists, savvy communicators, and astute legal advisers who happen to be women. Prioritizing policies to advance women in the workforce have resulted in the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years. The Trump administration has also launched the Global Development and Prosperity Initiative that will empower some 50 million women to freely engage in economic opportunity all across the world.

While Sanders has 28 years of talking the talk and living the high life in Congress, his actions show that he is simply nothing more than a good old fashioned hypocrite. With the 2020 election on the horizon, it is critical for voters to judge candidates on their records. While Sanders cannot even hold himself to the destructive economic standards that he seeks to impose, Trump continues to deliver on his promise to grow the economy, protect the environment, and make the country great for all.

Mandy Gunasekara is the Mississippi chair of Maggie’s List, an organization created to raise political awareness and funding to increase the number of conservative women elected to federal public office. She previously served with the Environmental Protection Agency and is the founder of Energy 45.