The immigration bill, opposed by House Republicans, never became law. But the jobs program amendment was classic Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist who has spent a quarter-century in Congress working the side door, tacking on amendments to larger bills that scratch his particular policy itches, generally focused on working-class Americans, income inequality and the environment.
Mr. Sanders is not unlike Tea Party Republicans in his tactics, except his are a decaf version. While he is unlikely to turn against his party on important votes, he is most proud of the things he has tried, unsuccessfully, to block over the years. And he boasts about them constantly on the campaign trail: the Iraq war, the Wall Street bailout and the Patriot Actafter the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
But in spite of persistent carping that Mr. Sanders is nothing but a quixotic crusader — during their first debate, Hillary Clinton cracked, “I’m a progressive, but I’m a progressive who likes to get things done” — he has often been an effective, albeit modest, legislator.