With the New Hampshire Democratic Party primary only days away, candidates are scrambling to make a final pitch to voters, appearing on cable news and distinguishing themselves from competition. In an unusual move, Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont appeared on Fox News to discuss his signature policy proposals and President Donald Trump.
Per The Hill, speaking with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, Sanders discussed the “democratic socialist” label he has embraced. Some of Sanders’ competitors — notably, former Vice President Joe Biden — have suggested that the “socialism” label could harm the senator’s prospects in a general election against Trump. Trump has also weighed in on the issue, calling Sanders a “communist” and suggesting that the senator got married in Moscow.
“Obviously I am not a communist,” Sanders said, calling Trump a “pathological liar” for suggesting that he got married in the Soviet Union, and adding that the president “maybe doesn’t know the difference” between communism and social democracy. According to Sanders, the United States is already socialist in different ways.
“In many respects, we are a socialist society today,” the Vermont independent said, suggesting that corporate welfare is a form of wealth redistribution Trump and the wealthiest 1 percent are comfortable with. He then noted that Trump received subsidies and tax breaks from the government as a real estate mogul and businessman.
“The difference between my socialism and Trump’s socialism is I believe the government should help working families, not billionaires.”
Wallace also grilled Sanders over his policy proposals, suggesting that some of them would be too much of a burden for the federal budget. Sanders dismissed these concerns, pointing out that the United States spends more on health care than most developed countries and suggesting that his signature proposal — Medicare for All — would not only be better, but also cheaper.
“If we leave the [health care] status quo alone, in the next 10 years, we’re going to be spending $50 trillion. Medicare for All will cost the average American less than the $12,000 a year they are paying the insurance companies,” the senator said.
Wallace also asked about the Green New Deal, a set of policy proposals meant to tackle climate change and income and wealth inequality. According to Sanders, the alternative — preserving the status quo — would be far more expensive.
“How much do you think it’s going to cost when we have increased disturbances?” he asked Wallace.
Sanders has appeared on a number of cable news shows over the weekend, taking advantage of the opportunity to draw a contrast between himself against his closest competitor in the New Hampshire primary, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
In an interview with CBS, Sanders criticized Buttigieg for accepting campaign contributions from billionaires and CEOs, stating that such contributions are “precisely the problem with American politics.”
According to the latest update to the 7 News/Emerson College tracking poll, Sanders is the favorite to win New Hampshire and holds a 10-point lead over Buttigieg.