Students dumbfounded by how much Bernie Sanders gives to charity

Ethan Cai, Campus Reform

(Photos: Screengrab/Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders is the favored 2020 Democrat presidential candidate among college students with a 30 percent plurality supporting him, according to College Pulse’s Chegg Election Tracker. But do they still support him after finding out how much he donates to charity?

Tax returns released earlier this year revealed that Sen. Bernie Sanders donates relatively little to charity, despite being a millionaire.

Sanders, who originally refused to release his tax information for a number of years, made $1,073,333 in a single year but gave just $10,600 to charity, totaling less than one percent of his income, according to Business Insider. That’s compared with others who made more than one million dollars during that same year. According to data, they gave an average of 5.6 percent of their income to charity.

Campus Reform New Hampshire Correspondent Ethan Cai went to one of Sanders’ recent campaign events at Dartmouth College to ask students to guess how much they thought he donated.

Seventy-five percent, thirty-five percent, twenty percent, and seven percent of his total income were among some of the estimates.

What did they say when they found out the actual amount?


One student said it’s “definitely” hypocritical for Sanders to give less than one percent of his income to charity while advocating for the rich to pay their “fair share.” After hearing how much Sanders gave to charity, one student sought to clarify it was Sanders who gave that amount.

“Whose name did you say before?” the student asked after being told Sanders gave less than one percent to charity.

Yet another student, who previously said of Sanders, “I think he’s definitely progressive, I think he’s what our country needs at this point,” later backtracked on her support for the self-described Democratic Socialist candidate, saying that it’s “for sure” hypocritical for Sanders to give so little to charity while advocating for the rich to pay their “fair share,” adding “I’m not a particular Bernie fan.”

“Well he’s always talking about the one percent, maybe that’s the one percent he gave to charity,” one student said.

“He’s alongside the millionaires but he’s giving less than one percent, but advocating for millionaires to give more than one percent, theoretically,” another student added. “That’s very hypocritical.”

“I don’t believe that the best way to help the poor is by giving to charity,” a third student replied, while still clarifying that he believes that the institution of charity is beneficial. “The best way to support the poor is through systematic intervention—government intervention.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ethanycai

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