Book review: Outsider in the White House by Bernie Sanders

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Maybe a year or so ago, I took a political quiz which revealed that Bernie Sanders and I have very similar political views. At that point, I had no idea who Bernie Sanders was. I looked into his record, his views, and his interests, and he sounded pretty good to me.

Flash forward to now. Bernie Sanders is running for president. My friends are coming out in droves to support him. My co-workers talk about what an honest, consistent politician he is.

My 2016 reading challenge says that I must read “a political memoir.” Who better than Bernie Sanders? Not only do I fulfill a requirement of my challenge, but I also get to learn more about the candidate.

So, the first thing I’m going to say about this book is no, it’s not the best-written book of the year. Bernie rants. He repeats himself. He goes off on tangents. The style is anything but linear as he jumps from present day to his first election and back again. But if there’s one thing this book does, it’s make his positions very clear.

Not only does he spell out his political philosophy, but he explains his strategy as well. He describes how to run a successful campaign. He explains how he went from an unknown independent in Vermont to a major candidate in this election. That alone is fascinating enough for me.

So, reasons to read this book:

If you’re at all put off by the fact that everybody refers to Bernie as a socialist, please read this book. (Side note: He’s totally okay with it, and is a self-described democratic socialist.) I might not 100% agree with his economic policy, but I am not frightened in the least by the word “socialist.” Bernie explains, in grave detail, why we lower taxes on the rich while cutting programs for the poor. Why we’ve made it so the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. And let me tell you – it’s not something I’d thought of before, but it makes a lot of sense.

If you’re not sure who you’re supporting in the primaries, please read this book. If you think that Bernie is too liberal for you, please read this book. If you think he’s an out of touch old man, please read this book.

If nothing else, you’ll get the words from his own mouth, not filtered through other candidates’ campaigns, reported by less than neutral media.

Final rating:  ★★★★☆

For my 2016 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #16: a political memoir.

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