Ben, Jerry & Bernie

Ice cream moguls come to campus to talk politics

GW Musket | Raman Mama | April 19, 2016

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Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenberg.

In January of this year, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen created a special edition flavor of ice cream. The invention consisted of one pint of mint ice cream, covered by a thick layer of chocolate chip, which had mysteriously found its way to the top. Only 40 pints of the special edition flavor were made, and the last one sits in the freezer of his home in Vermont. He called his brainchild “Bernie’s Yearning”. It didn’t take long for people to learn that this flavor was symbolic of the unequal wealth distribution that has befallen the American economy.

This is one of many problems that Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenberg are trying to fight alongside Bernie Sanders. Over the last 30 years they’ve been vehement supporters of Bernie, who became mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981. The duo began their business around the same time that Sanders became mayor, and witnessed his improbable victory over Gordon Paquette, a six-year incumbent, who had big corporations and money supporting him.

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Free scoops with a side of reform.

Since then, they’ve seen him win repeat terms in the house and senate, and they’ve supported him all along the way. Now, they’re ready to help him win the White House.

On April 18th, they made their way to GW, and preached their message to a lecture hall of over 300 students. “If we can get the money of out politics, we won’t live in a world where corporations dictate our policies!” expounded Ben. The crowd went wild.

The two ice cream moguls spoke passionately about Bernie’s acts of heroism in their home state of Vermont. They spoke of how in 1982, Bernie protected Lake Champlain from corporations that sought to industrialize the waterfront, driving out local business and polluting the environment. They spoke of how in the 90’s Bernie set up chartered bus trips to Canada, so that cancer patients could buy their prescriptions for lower prices. They also spoke of their personal experiences with Bernie, and his moral character, which has continued to inspire them.

“Bernie Sanders has been the most inspirational presidential candidate in my life”, said Ben.

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Ben and Jerry serving cups of “Bernie’s Yearning.”

Ben and Jerry deplore the influence of money in politics, but they’ve found creative ways to make their impact on the race. Over the past year, they’ve stamped the phrases “not to be used for bribing politicians”, and “corporations are not people” on dollar bills around the country. They’ve also traveled to Iowa, New Hampshire and New York sharing their message, and on April 17th, they were even arrested while protesting money in politics at Capitol Hill. “We’ve got the best Congress that money can buy!” joked Jerry.

At the end of their rally, Ben and Jerry offered up cups of their limited edition flavor to students. As the chocolate disks that covered the ice cream were broken up and mixed into the rich, thick, vanilla, it symbolized the new economic distribution that they hope will come once Bernie gets elected.


Special thanks to the GW Dems for their assistance with this article.