As of right now, Bernie Sanders is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination to challenge President Donald Trump for the White House. As of this writing, he’s got nearly a four-and-a-half-point lead in the Real Clear Politics poll average. He’s currently the odds on favorite to win the primary.
One of the things his supporters say they like about him is his consistency. They argue that he’s been saying the same things for decades, so clearly it’s a matter of integrity with him.
The problem is, it’s just not true.
Bernie Sanders has long blamed support for gun control measures on his loss in his first House race in 1988.
But two years later, he ran to the right of his Republican opponent on the gun issue, first-term Rep. Peter Smith, winning Vermont’s lone House seat with National Rifle Association’s backing.
The dichotomy in Sanders’s approach to gun control in the largely rural state reflects his, often, calculating political sense, though the now-senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign likes to tout his purity and unwillingness to compromise on principle.
In 1988, the Vermont House’s seat came open, with 14-year GOP Rep. James Jeffords, successfully running for Senate. Sanders, the outgoing Burlington, Vermont, mayor, ran and lost against GOP state lawmaker Peter Smith.
In 1990, running again as an independent, Sanders challenged Smith again, contending he was out of touch on multiple issues, including gun control. Specifically, Smith’s support for a federal ban on “assault” style weapons, which would become law for 10 years starting in 1994.
Sanders attacked Smith for supporting the ban, saying he was “turning [his] back on the 30 percent who believe in no gun control.”
In other words, Bernie shifted his positions in order to get elected to office in the state of Vermont.
Of course, Bernie argues his position has evolved on the issue of guns. I argued earlier this week that they didn’t, he’s just pandering to a gun control hungry Democratic base, just like any other politician. Of course, I may well have been wrong. He may have supported gun control the entire time and only pandered to get elected to office in Vermont, which was fairly pro-gun at the time.
Either way, though, it’s important to keep in mind that while his supporters rail about his consistency and how he doesn’t flip flop on various issues, this is one prime example of him doing just that.
The avowed socialist doesn’t just want to give away free stuff to people who didn’t earn it and take your money to pay for it, he wants to take your guns away too. This is problematic because there’s an old saying about socialism. You can vote yourself into it, but you have to shoot your way out of it. Sanders wants to make that impossible.
Regardless, though, Bernie is nothing more than a political creature the same as anyone else running for the Democratic nomination. He’s just done a better job of convincing people that he’s something else entirely.
Make no mistake, though, he’s just another politician.