Society

Bernie Sanders Urges Democrats To Change

| by Jordan Smith

Sen. Bernie Sanders has called on Democrats to adopt a more radical policy platform if they want to win elections.

The Vermont senator, who won substantial support when he challenged Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries in 2016, argued in a opinion piece published in The New York Times that the party's current approach was too cautious.

"For the sake of our country and the world, the Democratic Party, in a very fundamental way, must change direction," wrote Sanders.

Sanders took note of the June 8 success of the Labour Party in the U.K., which ran on a similar platform to the one he is proposing and gained support.

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"The British elections should be a lesson for the Democratic Party," added Sanders.

He did not rule out reaching out to Republicans, but argued Democrats should concentrate on winning backing from people who have given up on the political system.

"While Democrats should appeal to moderate Republicans who are disgusted with the Trump presidency, too many in our party cling to an overly cautious, centrist ideology," argued Sanders. "The party's main thrust must be to make politics relevant to those who have given up on democracy and bring millions of new voters into the political process."

Among Sanders' proposals for a Democratic Party platform were Medicare for all and an acceleration of the use of renewable energy sources. He also urged Democrats to confront corporate interests.

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Some political observers question whether Sanders' supporters can make up the Democrats' base and say that moving too far left would alienate traditional Democrat voters. According to New Republic, while Sanders won by large margins among independents who cast ballots in the Democratic primary in 2016, Clinton led by a 30-percentage-point margin among Democratic members.

"If you're talking about the Democratic Party base, it's actually kind of more of a Clinton base," FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver said June 12, according to New Republic. "If you're talking about liberal activists or progressive activists, it's a slightly different connotation."

Silver went on to suggest that while the influence of Sanders and other politicians was pushing the Democrats to the left, it was wrong to describe any resistance to this as coming from the establishment.

"I think in most areas of the country, the base of the Democratic Party is moderates," Jim Kessler, co-founder of the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way, told New Republic. "I've always felt that the Democratic Party has to row with two oars with equal fervor. We can't win with just liberals."

Sources: The New York Times, New Republic / Photo credit: Office of Senator Bernie Sanders/Wikimedia Commons

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