As 2020 Democrat hopefuls gear up for the party’s second debate, Senator Bernie Sanders has recently gone on the attack against American billionaires, yet the outspoken socialist is now taking flak for his own opulent lifestyle.
On Monday and Tuesday, Sanders took so social media to fire off a screed of anti-corporate remarks, condemning “the billionaires” who he claims have usurped control of the country from American voters, while vowing to “take the power back.”
The Vermont Senator railed against capitalism’s successes to the praise of a far-left fringe of liberal voters during the 2016 election, but has seemingly struggled to win back the hearts and minds of his former supporters after bending the knee to rival Hillary Clinton.
After declaring his intention to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination and oppose President Trump in the upcoming election, Sanders has appeared to face more of an uphill battle with Democrat voters compared to his 2016 popularity.
Now, as the crowded pool of would-be candidates prepares to face off for Tuesday night’s debate, Sanders has increasingly taken a hostile approach to what he has implied to be the “billionaire class” working to support Trump against his 2020 opponents.
In an apparent effort to stand out from the virtually-identical field of Democrat candidates, Sanders upped his rhetoric on Monday, asserting “greed” to be behind the country’s foundation – something he and other Democrats how vowed to change.
Greed is the religion of the billionaire class. And a nation based on greed will not survive morally, economically or politically.
That is why we fight to take power back from the billionaires and put it in the hands of the people, where it belongs.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 29, 2019
By Tuesday, Sanders’ message had taken a more pointed tone, and the aged career politician stated his belief that “The billionaire class will be behind Trump,” while touting his campaign’s plans to reach voters in order “to beat him.”
While Sanders proved to be able to effectively reach out to younger voters, he also discussed his campaign’s tactical hopes of additionally targeting “working-class people,” as well as minorities, groups he failed to effectively court in 2016.
Sanders, who has struggled with minority outreach, has recently (and shamefully) attempted to appeal to “people of color” by appearing with popular celebrities such as rapper Cardi B.
However, Sanders’ struggles to reach minorities has proven to require much more than celebrity endorsements and vague pandering, leading to further issues for his already-shaky campaign efforts.
In fact, as the once-heralded grassroots socialist continues to tout his plans for punishing America’s wealthy, his own accumulated wealth has repeatedly surfaced to haunt him, prompting scathing bipartisan scrutiny.
The billionaire class will be behind Trump with endless amounts of money. We need an energized population of young people, working-class people and people of color—and the largest voter turnout by far in history—to beat him. And our campaign is going to do that.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 30, 2019
Sanders, who first began his foray into the world of politics in the late 1960s and 70s with a failed string of campaigns, has gone on to accumulate a noticeable nest-egg of his own, and is reportedly worth over $2.5 million dollars.
Additionally, the outspoken socialist owns three homes, and has earned at least a six-figure salary since his election to Congress in 1991.
After a lengthy professional career in politics spanning nearly three decades, Sanders is also entitled to a pension of approximately $73,000 annually, as well as another $50,000 annual pension from his time as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont.
When recently confronted over the issue of his own personal wealth, Sanders coyly replied, “I wrote a best-selling book,” adding, “If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”
However, such remarks have quickly earned Sanders backlash, even comparisons to President Trump, himself, and have proven to be a sore point for the millionaire socialist Senator.
The fact that Sanders political position towards personal wealth appears to be directly at odds with his own fortune has hardly gone unnoticed, and has elicited bipartisan scrutiny that reportedly left him fuming.
When left-leaning group The Center for American Progress criticized Sanders for having stopped his criticism of millionaires, the infuriated Senator fired back with a letter accusing the group of “counterproductive negative campaigning.”
For Bernie Sanders and other prominent Democrat figures who have spent decades in office, the issue of personal wealth remains a major point of contention, and looms overhead with the potential to derail campaigns.
In just the short time since the 2016 election, the political landscape has changed dramatically, and many liberal voters who once supported Sanders have grown to distrust the wealthy socialist as he continues to tout himself as a champion of the working class.
As Senator Sanders enjoys a lavish lifestyle as a career politician, his accrued wealth, property, and power have come to be seen by many liberals as an affront, a fact which has undoubtedly contributed to his struggling campaign.