Populist or Progressive Bernie Sanders Speaks and Acts Like an Everyperson

 In Archetype Character

Populist or Progressive Bernie Sanders Speaks and Acts Like an Everyperson

There is a debate about whether Bernie Sanders is a Populist or a Progressive.

As a populist President, he would break or destroy any large institution that did not serve every US citizen fairly.  As a progressive, he would work for reform but within the system, making large institutions play by a set of rules.

How about if we look at Bernie Sanders through the lens of the Everyperson Archetype? Let’s examine his behaviors both past and present and his sense of belonging and justice that might tell a more personal story. His early life, his track record in Congress and his campaign speeches characterize an Everyperson who seems to say, “together we can overcome.” He shows signs of:

  • Being inclusive, fair, and respectful
  • Desiring a sense of belonging and dignity for all people
  • Building team collaboration and trust to survive difficult times
  • And, behaving in a no-frills, simple, cost-effective way

Bernie_Sanders_Arrested_1963_Chicago_TribuneMr. Sanders was born the son of Polish immigrants and raised in Brooklyn, NY.  His life experiences have made him tough and resilient. After graduating from the University of Chicago, where he was very active in the Civil Rights Movement, he settled in Vermont, first becoming a carpenter and then a producer of educational films. During the 1970’s, as a member of the anti-war Liberty Union Party, he made several unsuccessful attempts to be elected as a Vermont State representative. Then, in 1981, he became Mayor of Burlington, VT, serving until 1989. Finally, he became the longest-serving member of Independent party in US history, first as a Congressman and then as a Senator, from 1990 to 2015.  Staying always to the political left, he was and is known as a free-minded, rumpled, irascible populist, beholden to no “master” or party.

In Congress, Mr. Sanders served on the Committees for Energy, Clean Air, Children and Families, National Parks and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. His desire to make improvements is based on a perspective of the social welfare of US citizens. He has opposed the influence of “big money” and has been a vocal champion of many social causes:

  • bernie_standSpeaking to the billionaire class about income inequality: “you can’t have it all. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America if you refuse to accept your responsibilities as Americans.”
  • Reinforcing the need in 2009 for a single-payer healthcare system: “You have given the wealthiest portion of the population a tax break, and now you are coming before the American people and saying we don’t have enough money to protect the sick and the old.”
  • In proposing better access and affordability of Higher Education: “Education should be a right, not a privilege…It makes no sense that students and their parents are forced to pay interest rates for higher education loans that are much higher than they pay for car loans or housing mortgages.”
  • On the subject of war and the treatment of war veterans:  “Let us wage a moral and political war against war itself so that we can cut military spending and use that money for human needs. If you can’t afford to care for veterans, then don’t go to war.”


His passionate campaign speeches show us that he wants to serve everyone equally. Speaking for the majority, he strives to build “Team America” for the future when he says,

“I think the overwhelming majority of the American people know that we have got to stand together, that we’re going to grow together, that we’re going to survive together, and that if we start splintering, we’re not going to succeed in a highly competitive international economy.”

In some of Mr. Sanders’ passionate pleas, we experience the shadow side of the Everyperson Archetype or behaviors that betray his frustrations and fears. An Everyperson doesn’t like anyone else to surface as a star over others. In an appearance on The Nightly Show discussing which candidate possessed “New York Values”, Mr. Sanders, visibly irritated and with his own core values challenged, launched into a monologue attacking comments made by Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. He ended the monologue declaring, “New York values are American values — there is no difference.” Making his point, he dropped the microphone and walked off stage.

Bernie_logoMr. Sanders has also engaged in Democrat-to-Democrat “turf wars” with Mrs. Clinton saying that she is not qualified to be President because she has accepted too many special interest funds. Yet, we wonder, who would be more in charge as President? An Everyperson who thinks of everyone as an equal sometimes fails to see that someone needs to take a stance and be in charge.  As President, it’s hard not to be singled out for beliefs that can make the Everyperson, feel exposed and vulnerable.

Do you think America is ready for an Everyperson president?  Is Mr. Sanders inclusive enough to cc all of us on his emails? Will we truly feel a part of “Team America”?  We welcome your comments and while you are thinking about your answers, take our 10-question teaser quiz, to see if your Archetype is like Bernie Sanders’.

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