Bernie Sanders' platform sounds strangely familiar

During a CNN town hall, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders explains the programs he'd like to implement if he were elected president, which have been criticized by President Trump as akin to socialism.

Posted: Feb 26, 2019 2:30 AM
Updated: Feb 26, 2019 2:30 AM

The CNN town hall with Bernie Sanders on Monday night showed the Vermont senator picking up where he left off in 2016: Calling for higher taxes on the wealthy, single-payer health care and a dramatic expansion of government support for programs including pre-kindergarten and university education.

If much of what Sanders said sounded familiar, it's because many policies that sounded radical and new in 2016 have become mainstream Democratic positions. It's not that Bernie went centrist; instead, the center moved toward him. That is how the Vermont senator raised $10 million in the week after announcing his candidacy for the 2020 nomination, and it's why he polls near the front of the pack of contenders running for the Democratic nomination.

So the town hall sounded like a walk through the standard Democratic talking points, which isn't particularly exciting. Sanders promised to do something about the millions who struggle in poverty. He vowed to slap new taxes on "the billionaire class" to cover the cost of relief for the poor.

The pharmaceutical industry is "the most greedy entity in this country today," he said, with it raking in $50 billion in profits last year while one in five Americans can't afford vital medicines like insulin. (Sanders called for laws to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices with pharmaceutical companies).

Thanks to Sanders' attention to these issues in 2016, now all Democratic candidates must promise to tackle income inequality, the high cost of health care and the stranglehold that monied interests hold over Congress. But that leads to a potential problem for Sanders: other candidates, like Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker can present an identical analysis while offering more sizzle and pizzazz than Sanders can muster with his professorial style.

At the town hall, his proposals went over well with the Washington, DC, audience. The assembled group included a cross-section of core Democratic voters: women, blacks, university-age young adults. Some of the questions reflected audience skepticism about whether the Sanders message can bring people together and coalesce into a force powerful enough to unseat President Trump.

The doubts reflect the reality that following Sanders' progressive message doesn't guarantee victory. Many of the progressive candidates he supported in the 2018 midterms went down to defeat, and Our Revolution, Sanders' political arm, failed to flip any seats in the midterms from Republican to Democrat.

That will be Sanders' toughest case to make. At a time when Democrats want to beat Trump more than anything, Sanders has to persuade the rank-and-file that he is the best salesman of a product now being copied by many others.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 133851

Reported Deaths: 1803
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28467459
Washington18734171
Marion16247239
Clackamas11698138
Lane8353109
Jackson693085
Umatilla679368
Deschutes499936
Yamhill319045
Malheur313552
Linn311646
Polk245540
Klamath242838
Josephine174333
Benton170514
Jefferson170525
Douglas168743
Union111416
Wasco108123
Columbia104918
Lincoln99617
Hood River95421
Coos93815
Morrow93810
Clatsop6865
Crook62110
Baker5685
Tillamook3652
Curry3245
Lake2305
Grant2131
Harney1754
Wallowa963
Gilliam511
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00
Eugene
Mostly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 36°
Corvallis
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 41°
Roseburg
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 42°
North Bend
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 44°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events