Congress may be historically unpopular, but one senator has managed to break away from the pack and remain extremely popular: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
In a new poll conducted by Morning Consult, Sanders’ approval rating is way ahead of any of his peers. Eighty-three percent of Vermont voters said they thought he was doing a great job. Just 13 percent thought otherwise. (The lowest disapproval of any senator in the country.)
By comparison, just 9 percent of Americans believe Congress as a whole is doing a good job. Sanders may be the only respected senator left in Washington.
Sanders’ popularity with the people who know him best may explain why Republican efforts to drag him through the mud have been so unsuccessful. The term “democratic socialist” looks a lot less scary when people realize that Sanders performance in Washington has been nothing if not successful. Vermont has experience Sanders’ brand of “socialism” for years – and they have no complaints.
In the poll, Republicans fared much worse. The most popular conservative senator is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – with just 52 percent. And 32 percent of his state said he was doing a terrible job. Even more dismally for Republicans, coming in at the very bottom was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was actually more disliked than liked by his constituents.
It’s not hard to see why voters aren’t pleased with the Republican Party in Congress. The current group of lawmakers have given new meaning to the term “do-nothing.” During the seven years of Obama’s time in office, Republicans have resigned themselves to block everything he tries to accomplish – and do little else. This pathetically partisan strategy has seen them try to repeal Obamacare (and fail) an astonishing 55 times. Their plans to destroy Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign with endless Benghazi hearings similarly blew up in their faces, giving her a boost in the polls and making Republican lawmakers look like idiots.
Other times, they seem hell-bent on actively making the country worse off. In 2013, Sen. Ted Cruz orchestrated a government shutdown in the hopes of getting President Obama to cave on his signature healthcare reforms. Obama didn’t blink and Republicans were left holding the lion’s share of the blame. The gambit resulted in a further plummeting of Republican popularity and cost the U.S. economy $24 billion.
Sanders’ popularity further confirms that he’s the real deal. Once considered a long-shot in the Democratic presidential primary, his numbers have grown substantially. In national polls, he still trails Clinton by a sizable margin, but gains are being made nearly every week. His sincerity and fiery speeches have drawn crowds of regular people and celebrities alike. At a recent event in Atlanta, rapper Killer Mike nearly brought the house down with a ringing endorsement of Sanders.
If his approval ratings are any indication, Sanders is doing exactly what most politicians fail to: Be seen as genuine and passionate about topics that matter to Americans. In a country where “socialism” is seen as a dirty word, the Democratic Socialist from Vermont is showing us that liberalism can be a winning platform to run on. He doesn’t shy away from the label – and he’s never been more popular.
Feature image via Bernie Sanders/Twitter