9 Things You Need To Know About Bernie Sanders

The OTHER Democratic contender in the US Presidential race

MOST POPULAR

Bernie Sanders. The left-wing ‘underdog’ heating up the US Presidential Race.

But what do we know about the 74-year-old contender?

And could he really take over from Obama in November?

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Both major US political parties are in the process of choosing their candidate for President.

Over on the Republican side, we’ve got Comb-over Conservative Donald Trump fighting for their nomination, calling for an outright ban on Muslims entering the US and responding to tough questions from a female journalist by bringing the LOLz and suggesting she was on her period. Classy.

The Democrats, on the other hand, are currently split between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

MOST POPULAR

We had initially assumed Clinton to be the natural choice for women, considering she would be the US' first female President, but Bernie is hot on her heels and has staked a claim for women's rights, especially abortion rights, during his campaign.

Here are 9 things you need to know about the man who could stop Hilary Clinton in her tracks (not necessarily in order of importance):

1 - He’s the ‘underdog’, but a well-funded one. As of October 2015 Bernie had raised over 75 million dollars. Running for president is an expensive business.

2 - He wants to go further than Obama has done and create an American equivalent of our NHS.

3 - He has his own underwear line with which he invites wearers to “feel the Bern”.

4 - He's proving a huge hit with young people (no suggestion this relates to point 7). In a recent vote in Iowa, he won 84% of the vote of people aged between 17 and 29.  

5 - …and with young women too. Those under the age of 35 currently favour Sanders by a large margin, no doubt coming as a bit of a shock to the Clinton campaign.

If you need to be persuaded, check out this amazing video:

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

6 - He’d scrap tuition fees for public colleges and universities.

7 - He pledged to almost double the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2020, boosting incomes of the lowest paid Americans.

8 - He’s giving surprisingly good game in the celeb-supporter stakes, with help from the not-too-shabby Susan Sarandon, Sarah Silverman and Danny De Vito. But Hillary's brought out the big guns: funny women Lena Dunham and Amy Poehler, Kim K and the backing of Katy Perry, J Lo and Queen Bey would have been music to her ears.

9 - Bernie would legalise marijuana. The stoner vote is in the bag.

So Sanders is definitely shaking things up.

His policies and his politics are appealing. A lot of them are more radical than America has dared to be in the past and that is exciting people. But the chance of a female president does not come round too often. In fact, it’s never come round.

For older women in the US, who lived through blatant inequality in the workplace – not being allowed to wear trousers to work – and widespread gender discrimination, they seem to be keener on grabbing it. They sense the urgency.

Because a vote for Hillary won’t just affect who wins the election. It won’t just change the next 5 or 10 years, if she wins. The impact of the first ever female US president will be lasting – on generation after generation of young girls opening a textbook and seeing that it’s possible, because it happened.

To take a punt on Bernie may seem attractive with his rally cry for change. But the chance of a woman finally entering the White House in the top job – and with as good a CV as you could imagine - is not one young women should  pass up lightly.

Words by ELLE Politics Editor Ellie Gellard

Images: Getty

Read Next: