Creepy Bernie: What An Unearthed VT Local Access TV Program Reveals About the Vermont Senator

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Last Friday, Politico revealed the existence of a 51-episode local access TV program titled Bernie Speaks to the Community. The program ran from late 1986 to mid-1988 and was broadcast on Channel 15 in greater Burlington, Vermont as a way for incumbent Mayor Bernie Sanders to go out and speak to the voters in his community. The show ran during Sanders' third and fourth terms as mayor of Burlington and ceased filming right around the time Sanders began running an unsuccessful campaign to become Vermont's sole congressperson in 1988. The production was obviously low-budget and simply included Sanders going around and speaking to community members.

Despite the fact that this program was filmed before Sanders' congressional career, it offers a glimpse into the person he has always been. His stump speech about inequality and health care has not changed one bit in 30 years. What also hasn't changed has been Sanders' complete inability to read a room. Specifically, addressing children. Whereas many candidates like Joe Biden or Kamala Harris seem as ease among children, Sanders has always struggled to connect, to be human among them. Perhaps it ties to his own parenting, or lack thereof, but for whatever reason Bernie Sanders simply comes off as awkward, uncertain, and yes, creepy when speaking to children. It's the kind of thing that speaks to the very core of who Bernie Sanders is: he's simply uncomfortable in what for many of us would be a common situation.

As a whole, the archival footage does not seem to be too devastating to Bernie Sanders. However, it most certainly doesn't help him. The conversations he has with Burlington's children show him to be incapable of understanding his audience. His discussions on race and drug use are wildly inappropriate for the children he is addressing. His attempt to solicit conversations with children while driving in his car seems disturbing. And the fact that he wants to have policy discussions with five- and six-year-old children is simply bizarre. Bernie Sanders' supporters will simply chalk this up to Bernie being Bernie. But for the rest of us, this series of videos shows once again that Sanders has one speed and one message, no matter who the audience is. For someone who claims to be a man of the people, you'd think he'd at least be able to change his presentation once in a while. However, Bernie Sanders remains a one-trick pony who simply loves to hear the sound of his own voice, no matter how inappropriate the setting may be.

And don't think for one minute that Republicans wouldn't use this footage against Bernie Sanders in a general election. 

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