Traditionally conservative group leaning far left
It may surprise many that there’s a growing veteran movement in support of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. This seems like somewhat of a phenomenon, considering veterans tend to be very conservative. But Sanders has proven himself to be a friend to the military.
The first bill Sanders introduced as a freshman Congressman from Vermont was H.R. 695 – the Guard and Reserve Family Protection Act of 1991. This bill ensured that National Guard and reserve soldiers who ended up fighting the Gulf War received any employment compensation they missed while they were fighting, and to guarantee their compensation while deployed matched their lost civilian pay.
So, while Sanders may be anti-war, he certainly stands up for our soldiers. In fact, his long career in Congress has been one advocating for veterans and active duty military.
Read more about why veterans are supporting Bernie Sanders below
A Steadfast Advocate For Veterans
“He works for veterans. He’s not just saying that. He does do the work,” said Brenda Cruickshank a retired Army nurse who served as the past commander of the Vermont Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), over the summer. Indeed, last spring the national VFW presented Sanders with its 2015 Congressional Award.
That award came after Sanders forged a successful compromise to overhaul the Veterans Administration (VA), which had been plagued in scandals over its inability to handle its intake. “Last year when we had the scandal at the VA, he was incredibly effective, engaged in getting the legislation passed, in getting it funded. Frankly, without him, I don’t think we would have gotten it done because there was a lot of name-calling but there wasn’t a lot of constructive, ‘OK, here’s the resources. …’ And he did it,” said Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), noting how crucial Sanders was to the overhaul.
The praise for Sanders for his leadership on the VA issue was bipartisan. The deal wouldn’t have gone down without the support of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who worked closely with Sanders. “I found him to be honorable and good as his word. And his word was good,” said McCain… “
…The VFW award joins numerous other awards Sanders has received for his work for veterans, including the 2014 American Legion Patriot Award and the Military Officers Association of America Colonel Arthur T. Marix Congressional Leadership Award, given to Sanders in April 2014.
Returning The Favor
It’s no surprise that Sanders’s work for veterans is now leading many veterans to support him. An affinity group, Veterans for Bernie, has launched to mobilize veterans who support Sanders. The site pushes out social media content based around endorsements from individual veterans, such as this one from Doc Bergeron, Navy vet:
Manker recalls that when he returned home in 2003, “there were literally no PTSD psychological counseling services of any kind…They shipped us home and that was it.” The next year, he tried to seek help at the VA in Springfield, Illinois but was told there was nothing they could do for him.
He started doing drugs and and drinking heavily until in 2007 he was nearly stabbed to death in Austin, TX. Manker saw this as a wake up call and decided to take out loans to go to college and law school. Today he is an attorney and an adjunct professor.