Senator Bernie Sanders speaking during the first day of the Democratic National Convention. Photo / AP
Bernie Sanders does not like fancy-schmancy things. He isn’t a huge fan of gazillionaires, tuxedos or any of the highfalutin trappings of society’s economic ills. This, of course, made him a hero among the country’s growing socialist movement. So when news
came that the former presidential candidate bought a $575,000 vacation home for his family, the hypocrisy police were ready to pounce in all caps.
The Sanders family’s “new waterfront crib has four bedrooms and 500 feet of Lake Champlain beachfront,” according to the Vermont newspaper Seven Days, which broke the news on Monday. Sanders’s spokesman, Michael Briggs, told us
the home is 1,800 square feet (hardly a mansion). Jane O’Meara Sanders, the senator’s wife, said she had “always hoped” to buy a home in the area, which has more of a country village vibe than Hamptons feel.
Just a 40-minute drive from Burlington, “the islands” – local lingo for the chain of bridge-connected islands that dot Lake Champlain, the sixth largest in the country – are a popular New England summer and fall destination with sparkling views of the Adirondack Mountains.
It all sounds like a pretty nice and not at all over-the-top getaway for the Sanders clan, which includes Sanders’s son from a previous relationship, his wife’s three children from her first marriage, their spouses and seven grandkids. In her statement to Seven Days, Jane Sanders even added the extra tidbit (probably anticipating the criticism) that the sale of her own family’s vacation home in Maine precipitated the purchase of the Lake Champlain house.They boast 200 miles of shoreline, scenic bike paths and birdwatching.
Sanders greets a police officer during walk around downtown in Philadelphia. Photo / AP
But Bernie-files and Bern-outs alike soon cried foul on social media and in headlines about the senator’s third home (the Sanderses also have homes in Washington and Burlington) because apparently socialism and diversified real estate portfolios don’t mix. There are several sub Reddit threads dedicated to the senator’s real estate news.
For his part, Sanders has yet to respond to the criticism and calls for donor refunds. He’s probably too busy writing his forthcoming book. “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In” is set to hit bookshelves on Nov. 15.
Thousands of the former candidate’s supporters expressed their disappointment when the Sanders family purchased a 1,800-square-foot (167 square meters) home on the beachfront of Lake Champlain, in North Hero, Vermont, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The $575,000 four-bedroom house will be the third one that Sanders and his wife own in addition to their two homes in Washington and Burlington.
This was a surprisingly expensive deal for Sanders, who had told his supporters that his net-worth was a little over $528,000.
“Certainly it surprised the 99 percent of Americans who can’t afford a third home,” the American weekly Washington Examiner wrote.
During his run for the White House, Sanders attracted many voters who admired his socialist approach and pledges to fight corporate greed, as well as the wealthy one percent who own most of America’s wealth.
This file photo shows an aerial view from the Lake Champlain in Vermont.
“It is not moral, not acceptable and not sustainable that the top one-tenth of one percent now own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, or that the top one percent in recent years has earned 85 percent of all new income. That is unacceptable. That must change,” Sanders had said in one of his speeches.
The senator’s campaign pitched him as the only independent candidate in the presidential race, encouraging voters to support his campaign through contributions.
At its peak, estimates show that the Sanders campaign, which started in May 2015, easily raised over $35 million from small donors each month.
However, many of his supporters called for refunds on Monday, when the local paper Seven Days Vermont broke the news of his new home for the first time.
Others just mocked those who donated money to the campaign: “The socialist has a “summer home” lol y’all got clowned as always,” one user wrote on Twitter.
“How’s that capitalism working out for ya,” wrote another one.
Soon after ending his bid in favor of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Sanders landed a major deal for his forthcoming book “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In” which will hit bookshelves on November 15.