Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent, gave a victory speech of sorts Thursday in which he lauded the embrace by modern Democrats of policies once thought “radical.”
Attendees at a Progressive Change Campaign Committee event in the nation’s capital this week cheered as the self-proclaimed democratic socialist discussed the transformation of the Democratic Party.
Mr. Sanders, who came within an ace of winning the party’s nomination during the 2016 presidential election, said that lawmakers have finally accepted socialist ideas as “mainstream.”
“A few years ago in the Senate, I introduced a Medicare-for-all bill, had zero co-sponsors, this time we have 16 co-sponsors,” Mr. Sanders said for a live-streamed event on Facebook. “In other words, what was once considered radical is now mainstream.”
Mr. Sanders also talked about efforts to raise the minimum wage.
“What we said is if you work 40 hours a week in the United States, you should not be living in poverty. Raise the minimum wage to a living wage — 15 bucks an hour,” Mr. Sanders said. “Well, a few years ago the Democratic Leadership said, ‘$15 an hour? My god. You want to double the federal minimum wage. Maybe — maybe — we can go to $10 an hour.’ Now we have 30 cosponsors on $15 an hour.”
The video, which was also shared by the YouTube channel GOP War Room, was a rhetorical departure from a CNN town hall debate Mr. Sanders held in October 2017 with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
“What is the difference between a socialist and a Democrat on taxes?” the Republican asked.
“Well, I don’t know the answer to that because I don’t know what every Democrat …” Mr. Sanders responded before being cut off.
“I don’t, either,” joked Mr. Cruz.”Here’s what I think,” Mr. Sanders said. “As a democratic socialist, Ted, similar to the people in Denmark and Sweden and Norway and Finland, people who have, by and large, a much higher standard of living than we have, people who guarantee health care to all of their people as a right, where kids have free — free — preschool education, where retirement benefits are much more generous than the United States, this is what I do believe, Ted.””I believe that in a civilized society, people, especially those on top, should be asked to pay their fair share so that every man, woman and child in our country can have a decent standard of living,” he said.
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