This Was Bernie’s Year: How a Socialist Emerged as a National Political Phenomenon


Rolling Stone | Reader Supported News | December 14, 2015

he rise of Bernie Sanders has no doubt been one of the more fascinating political stories of 2015 – a year that was not short on fascinating political stories. When he announced his run in the spring, few thought the self-described democratic socialist would be such a strong opponent against Hillary Clinton, but his impact in the race has been significant: He’s raised significant money, without relying on super PACs, and has pushed Clinton to the left in very real ways.

Whether you’re full-on feeling the Bern, or are just a political observer, it’s worth taking a look back at the year Bernie Sanders transformed from “that socialist from Vermont” to a national political phenomenon.

April 29, 2015: Announces Presidential Run, as a Democrat

Sanders, the longest serving Independent in Congress, jumped into the 2016 presidential race in late spring as a Democrat. Though in the coming months he proved to be a formidable challenger to frontrunner Hillary Clinton, raising significant money and pushing Clinton to the left, one of the terms most associated with his April announcement was “long shot.”

At a campaign announcement event in Vermont in May, Sanders laid out his platform and noted that “we’re going to win…by establishing a very strong grassroots campaign involving millions of people. That’s the only way to win.”

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