Comparing Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

As preparation for my neighborhood Democratic Caucus, I’ve made these impartial notes comparing the Dems’ two major candidates.  I’ve listed sources at the end of this post.  Keep in mind that this is a comparison at a point in time (March 2016).  To enable comparison, this is just a high-level summary; see the sources for details.



  • Born in 1941 in New York.  Jewish.  Father; paint salesman.
  • Brooklyn College, University of Chicago; Political Science degree
  • 1962: Congress Of Racial Equality, housing segregation sit-in participant
  • 1963: Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organizer, March On Washington participant
  • Applied for Conscientious Objector status; this was rejected, but he was never drafted
  • 1970-1979: Member of Liberty Union Party (anti-war); thereafter independent
  • Israeli kibbutz
  • Head Start teacher; various middle-class jobs


  • Born 1947 in Chicago.  Father; fabric store owner.
  • 1964: Campaigned for Barry Goldwater (GOP)
  • 1968; Joined Democratic Party
  • Wellesley College, Yale University; Law degree; Yale Child Study Center
  • 1971: Senator Mondale’s Subcommittee on Migrant Workers staffer
  • 1972: Campaigned for George McGovern
  • 1974: House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Nixon impeachment inquiry staffer; allegedly fired for unethical professional behavior
  • 1974: Taught at University of Arkansas Law School
  • 1976: Campaigned for Jimmy Carter

Public service


  • 1981-1989: Mayor of Burlington, Vermont
  • 1991-2007: House of Representatives.  Opposed the Iraq War.
  • 2007-present: Senate
    • 2008: Protested proposed bank bail-out
    • 2010: Delivered 8.5-hour filibuster against Bush tax cuts for the wealthy
    • Skipped the 2016 AIPAC pro-Israel conference


  • 1979: Arkansas state First Lady for 12 years
    • Arkansas Educational Standards Committee chair
    • Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families co-founder
  • 1993-2001: First Lady
    • Task Force on National Health Reform chair
  • 2001-2009: Senate
    • World Trade Center redevelopment; 9/11 responder health issues
    • Supported 2001 Afghanistan invasion, 2002 Iraq invasion, enlarging armed services
    • Voted against Bush tax cuts for the wealthy
    • Voted against Central America FTA
    • Voted against Federal Marriage Amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriage
  • 2009-2013: Secretary of State
    • “Arab Spring” diplomacy
    • Military intervention in Libya
    • Advocated for women’s rights and human rights



  • Campaign finance reform
  • Expansion of voting rights
  • Single-payer health care system
  • Environmentalist
  • Income inequality
  • Same-sex marriage
  • Pro-choice
  • Opposes fracking
  • Opposes use of GMOs in food
  • Opposes holding gun makers/sellers liable for crimes


  • Lowering student debt
  • Criminal justice reform
  • Health care; improved coverage, lower costs
  • Women’s rights
  • Death penalty qualified supporter
  • Favors fracking
  • Favors or equivocal about use of GMOs in food
  • Has changed positions on gay marriage, trade deals



  • Vague over how to pay for social programs
  • Seems out of step with young peoples’ issues


  • 1990s: Whitewater real estate project and bank failure
  • 2012: Benghazi attack led to accusations of State Department mismanagement
  • Used personal email address for government business
  • Financial and political ties to Monsanto

Potential to win over Trump


  • Polls show him beating Trump by a wider margin than Clinton.  Quinnipiac University poll; 49% to 39%


  • Favored over Trump in several polls.  Quinnipiac; 46% to 40%


Clinton, Hilary:

fracking: Grist 9/5/14

GMOs, Monsanto: Institute for Responsible Technology 12/22/15 Washington Times 5/17/2015  Huffington Post 6/23/15

polls: RealClearPolitics

Senate: Wikipedia

Sanders, Bernie:

fracking: Grist 1/28/16

GMOs, Monsanto: Huffington Post 6/23/15

guns: NBC 5/8/2016

polls: RealClearPolitics

Senate: Wikipedia

weaknesses: The Nation, 1/22/16

About comments

Normally, I publish all comments about my posts, unless they’re spam.  However, my policy for this post will be different.

I’ve been a moderator on another website that disallows any discussion of politics or religion, on the grounds that these topics tend to attract flaming and other stupid behavior.  I’ve seen that this is a good policy for maintaining a pleasant and respectful online community.  So that’s my comments policy for this post.


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