Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., expressed concern Sunday about young and working-class voters turning out for Democrats in the midterm elections.
Having been alienated by high inflation and rising gas prices, the young and the working class might be discouraged from voting for the Democrats in November, the 81-year-old senator told CNN host Jake Tapper during an appearance on “State of the Union.”
“I am worried about the level of voter turnout among young people and working people who will be voting Democratic,” he said. “And I think, again, what Democrats have got to do is contrast their economic plan with the Republicans.”
Sanders maintained that both young people and working-class people “are upset” because “real wages” have not increased during the past half-century.
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Pinpointing “corporate greed” as a source of American suffering, Sanders said, “So, I think what the Democrats have got to say is, ‘We are going to stand with working people.’ We’re prepared to take on the drug companies. We’re prepared to take on the insurance companies and create an economy that works for all of us.”
Playing “devil’s advocate,” Tapper asked Sanders his response to those who would observe that Democrats have controlled the executive and legislative branches amid skyrocketing inflation, which he said could drive some voters to ask, “Why should I vote for you again?”
Sanders noted in response that Democrats control half the Senate and only a small majority in the House of Representatives, arguing that the GOP has not offered solutions to amend the rising inflation and high gas prices afflicting the working class.
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“What are the Republicans’ response to inflation? What do they want to do?” Sanders said. “Well, maybe they want to cut wages for workers. Do they want to raise the minimum wage? No, they don’t. So, I think it is important to take the attack to the Republicans. What do they want to do, other than complain?”
Touching on abortion and noting its importance, Sanders also said, “We have also got to focus on the struggles of working people to put food on their table.”
The independent senator also said he opposes Republicans who lobby for combating inflation by cutting programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, though he does support lifting the debt ceiling in some way.
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“But what Republicans are basically doing — and I hope everybody understands this — they are saying look, we are prepared to let the United States default on its debt, not raise the debt ceiling, unless — you talk about making cuts,” Sanders said. “Is that irresponsible? It is absolutely irresponsible. You don’t use the debt ceiling to do that.”