Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, criticized the Democratic Party on Thursday, claiming it had become a “party of the coastal elites.
Sanders commented on this during his late night appearance with Seth Myers. The host admitted that the Democratic Party has distanced itself from the American working class over the years, which Sanders nodded in agreement with.
If Democratic candidate Joe Biden wins the November 3 election, Myers then asked what Biden should do to “get the Democratic Party to serve the working people of this country again.
“I think it’s fair to say that the Democratic Party has in many ways become a party of the coastal elites, people who have a lot of money, people from the upper middle class who are good people who believe in social justice in many ways,” Sanders replied. “But I believe that for many, many years the Democratic Party has not given the needs of the working class the kind of attention it should have had.
Sanders, who served as a Democratic Party delegate for most of his congressional career, cited the donors and corporations that often fund campaigns as part of the reason for this apparent shift in the party’s demographic composition.
The Senator stressed that Democrats in Congress “must begin to break out of the blocs in an effort to protect working people. He said he was working on a 100-day program to help the party achieve just that, especially if it gains control of the Senate.
Among those protective measures, Sanders said, was the passage of a “very substantial” coronavirus relief bill, similar to the one passed by Congress in March. The package was designed to extend the $600 weekly payments that supplement the state unemployment benefit, as well as the one-time payment of $1,200 to working families and individuals, he said. The law should provide health care for anyone who might have lost it and financial assistance to cities and municipalities so that they do not have to lay off workers, Sanders said.
The senator also advocated raising the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour, making it easier for workers to join unions and ensuring that women receive the same pay as their male counterparts for equal work.
“If the Democratic Party does not firmly stand up for working class families and does not have the courage to take on the drug companies and insurance companies and the interests of big money, it is a disgrace to them,” Sanders said.
Tekk.tv contacted the Democratic National Committee to comment, but did not listen back in time for publication.
Myers also asked Sanders to talk about President Donald Trump, who repeatedly called the Senator during recent campaign rallies to try to stir up divisions among Democratic voters and used Sanders’ more progressive policies to paint Biden in the same way.
Sanders tried to secure the Democratic nomination for the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, but came second in both campaigns. Trump insisted then as now that Sanders’ supporters would ultimately support the Republican candidate rather than vote for the Democratic candidate.
“Just like last time, Bernie Sanders’ people will vote for me because of what I did in the deal,” Trump said earlier this month with reference to the 2016 election.
He made the prediction again when he spoke at a rally in Pennsylvania on Monday. “[Sanders] has done us some great favors. Many of Bernie’s people came with us last time because they agree with me on trade issues,” the president said.
In 2016, about 12 percent of Sanders’ supporters voted for Trump, and another 7.7 percent supported a third-party candidate to replace Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, according to the Cooperative Congressional Election Study.
But Sanders struck back at the president on Thursday, insisting that things would be different this year. He told Myers that the “overwhelming majority” of his supporters would vote for Biden in this election “because they understand that we cannot have four more years of Donald Trump.
Sanders officially endorsed Biden in April after he ended his presidential campaign. Since then, the two have joined forces and formed the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force. In July, the group published more than 100 pages of recommendations to show voters that the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party are better integrated than in 2016, the New York Times reported.
A YouGov poll conducted in August showed that if an election were held, 89 percent of Sanders supporters would then vote for Biden, compared to the 3 percent who said they would support Trump. However, most of them indicated that their motivation for doing so was more rooted in their dislike of Trump than their support for Biden.