Bernie Sanders is closing in on Hillary Clinton in Iowa. And he has a plan to go after Donald Trump’s voters, too.
He told Fusion after the Iowa Brown & Black Forum that he won’t give up on the white, working-class voters that make up the core of Trump’s support. He plans to make a direct appeal by empathizing with them.
“I’ll say, ‘I know that you’re angry, and I know that you’re frustrated. I know that you’re working longer hours for low wages, your kids can’t afford to go to college, your wife is working, you’re going nowhere in a hurry,’” the Vermont senator said.
“Don’t take it out on the Latino community! It’s not their fault that your standard of living has declined and that almost all the income and wealth is going to the top one percent. Don’t take it out on the Muslim community. We have got to stand together around an agenda that is not based on hatred but is based on addressing the real issues that we face.”
Sanders, an unabashed democratic socialist, has closed the gap in Iowa while maintaining a commanding lead in New Hampshire. The number of political pundits who would have predicted this when Sanders announced his decision to run for president under a tree outside the Capitol in front of a handful of reporters and onlookers is close to zero.
In the meantime, he has managed to command the parameters of the debate for the nomination as he has moved the party dramatically to the left.
Sanders told Fusion that the United States has never really had a true labor party, and that that’s at the heart of why the U.S. never developed a fully robust European-style welfare state.
“In the 1920’s and earlier than that, where there really was a strong coming together of workers, the government came down very hard on the Socialist party of the time,” he said. “In the ’50s, you had attacks on the labor movement through McCarthyism. In this country there has been a real hostility for the working people to get together, to stand together to create a government that works for everybody.”
He added: “What we have seen in this country is a lack of a strong worker’s movement. In Europe we have seen labor parties and social democratic parties who have stood up and said that we have got to make government work for all of us.”
Nando Vila is Vice President of Programming at Fusion and a correspondent for America with Jorge Ramos.