Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders criticized “corporate Democrats” for attacking progressive policies after a mixed election result.
While President-elect Joe Biden took the White House, Sanders wrote in a USA Today op-ed that the results in the Senate and House were “disappointing.”
“Now, with the blame game erupting, corporate Democrats are attacking so-called far-left policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal for election defeats in the House and the Senate,” he wrote. “They are dead wrong.”
Sanders noted that all 112 co-sponsors of Medicare for All won their races and 97 of 98 co-sponsors of the Green New Deal were victorious as well.
“It turns out that supporting universal health care during a pandemic and enacting major investments in renewable energy as we face the existential threat to our planet from climate change is not just good public policy. It also is good politics,” he wrote, noting that a Fox News poll found that 72% of voters prefer a “government-run health care plan” and 70% of voters support “increasing government spending on green and renewable energy.”
Sanders calls on Dems to speak to working-class:
“The lesson is not to abandon popular policies like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, living wage jobs, criminal justice reform and universal child care, but to enact an agenda that speaks to the economic desperation being felt by the working class — Black, white, Latino, Asian American and Native American,” Sanders wrote. “People are hurting, and they are crying out for help. We must respond.”
Sanders cited a Florida referendum that increased the minimum wage to $15, a Colorado measure that guarantees 12 weeks of paid leave, an Arizona vote that increased taxes on those earning over $250,000, and votes across the country to legalize marijuana.
“The American people are sick and tired of seeing billionaires and Wall Street become much richer, while veterans sleep out on the streets, our infrastructure crumbles and young people leave school deeply in debt,” he wrote. “They want a government that works for all, not just the few. That’s the right thing to do, that’s the moral thing to do and, for the Democratic Party, that is the way to win elections.”
Progressives hit back at centrists:
Sanders joins House progressives who have pushed back on centrist Democrats blaming their disappointing Congressional races on calls for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and Defund the Police.
We… learned that progressive policies do not hurt candidates. Every single candidate that co-sponsored Medicare for All in a swing district kept their seat,” New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told The New York Times. “We also know that co-sponsoring the Green New Deal was not a sinker. Mike Levin was an original co-sponsor of the legislation, and he kept his seat.”
“I think it’s going to be really important how the party deals with this internally, and whether the party is going to be honest about doing a real post-mortem and actually digging into why they lost,” she added. “Because before we even had any data yet in a lot of these races, there was already finger-pointing that this was progressives’ fault and that this was the fault of the Movement for Black Lives.”
“We're not going to be successful if we're silencing districts like mine,” Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib told Politico. “Me not being able to speak on behalf of many of my neighbors right now, many of which are Black neighbors, means me being silenced. I can't be silent.”
“If we truly want to unify our country, we have to really respect every single voice,” she added. “We say that so willingly when we talk about Trump supporters, but we don't say that willingly for my Black and brown neighbors and from LGBTQ neighbors or marginalized people.”