As he tours the U.S. in the wake of Donald Trump’s devastating electoral victory this month, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is using his growing influence within the Democratic Party and among the voting population at-large to outline how the country can prevent slipping backward and in fact can move forward—even with Republicans soon in control of both the White House and Congress.
“We can beat this guy. We can beat this agenda,” the one-time Democratic presidential contender told a sold-out crowd at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston on Sunday. “But we have to do it in a way that we have never done it before, and it’s essentially reaching out to people who do not or may not agree with us on every single issue. We have got to bring people together because we are fighting for the future of this country.”
He similarly urged a crowd in South Portland, Maine on Monday: “No, you’re not going to give up. You’re going to fight back and mobilize.”
As for what that mobilization might look like, Sanders offered some clues in an interview with PBS Newshour that aired Monday night. The senator from Vemont said the future the Democratic Party and a progressive agenda must be focused on challenging the interests of the elites while advocating on behalf of everyday Americans and the working-class.
“The bottom line,” Sanders said, “is you cannot be a party which takes money from Wall Street, which is not strong on the pharmaceutical industry, which is ripping us off every day, which is not strong on health care in taking on the insurance companies, which has not shown a desire to stand up and fight the economic establishment, and then tell working families that you are on their side. People see through that.”
In a separate interview with GQ magazine published Tuesday, Sanders elaborated on how doubling down on such concerns will also help hold Trump accountable: “But what we are working on right now is to transform the Democratic Party. I will introduce legislation that will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Mr. Trump talks about his concern about working families. I look forward to him supporting it. I am going to introduce legislation—I or somebody else, it’s not just me—demanding pay equity for women workers. I hope Mr. Trump supports that. We’re going to have very definitive legislation on infrastructure. I hope Trump supports that. Trade policy, Trump based his whole campaign on trade.”
“It’s not a question of us working with Trump,” Sanders said. “It’s a question of Trump working with us.”
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