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Bernie Sanders' platform sounds strangely familiar

CNN's Wolf Blitzer presses Sen. Bernie Sanders on why he hasn't called Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro a dictator.

Posted: Feb 26, 2019 9:30 AM
Updated: Feb 26, 2019 9:30 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61125

Reported Deaths: 1711
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5209106
DeSoto328027
Madison228154
Rankin212428
Harrison209832
Jackson192934
Jones176557
Forrest163153
Washington148032
Lauderdale132388
Lee123230
Neshoba119487
Lamar111512
Oktibbeha105235
Lowndes97332
Warren96426
Scott95317
Bolivar93932
Copiah90924
Panola90711
Sunflower90622
Lafayette8699
Holmes84347
Leflore83259
Pike82632
Grenada81220
Yazoo77311
Leake76725
Lincoln74339
Wayne73221
Pontotoc7247
Simpson71126
Monroe69750
Coahoma65910
Tate64523
Marion59918
Adams58025
Covington57811
Winston57115
Marshall5668
George5415
Union51913
Newton51611
Attala49524
Tallahatchie49310
Pearl River48236
Walthall44218
Chickasaw43519
Noxubee41710
Claiborne40013
Smith37713
Jasper3758
Calhoun3748
Clay36814
Alcorn3544
Prentiss3376
Hancock32614
Tishomingo3163
Yalobusha31610
Lawrence3135
Itawamba30710
Tippah30412
Clarke29825
Montgomery2913
Humphreys26911
Tunica2656
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Kemper22315
Perry2217
Quitman2211
Amite2105
Jefferson Davis1986
Webster19712
Jefferson1916
Wilkinson18712
Sharkey1801
Stone1483
Choctaw1264
Benton1240
Franklin1142
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 89927

Reported Deaths: 1580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11650225
Mobile8998191
Montgomery6198143
Madison493225
Tuscaloosa391263
Baldwin317522
Shelby300232
Marshall294730
Unassigned263351
Lee249140
Morgan220615
Etowah191425
DeKalb167713
Elmore158437
Calhoun15359
Walker145763
Houston130912
Dallas128023
Russell12201
Franklin118420
Limestone118313
St. Clair118212
Cullman111311
Colbert107612
Lauderdale105312
Autauga101020
Escambia96515
Talladega89013
Jackson8163
Chambers81438
Tallapoosa80478
Dale77619
Butler75135
Blount7223
Covington70420
Coffee7035
Chilton6976
Pike6547
Barbour5625
Lowndes54624
Marion53524
Marengo51514
Clarke4849
Hale44925
Bullock43711
Perry4284
Winston42811
Wilcox4029
Monroe3884
Randolph38810
Conecuh37110
Bibb3643
Pickens3639
Sumter36118
Washington31011
Macon30813
Lawrence3060
Crenshaw2843
Choctaw27312
Henry2433
Greene24011
Cherokee2337
Geneva2260
Clay2165
Lamar1942
Fayette1695
Cleburne1141
Coosa902
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