Sanders is urging Dems to rethink their approach so the party doesn’t faceplant in the November midterms.
He wants the party to offer a liberal version of the GOP’s 1994 “Contract with America.”
He’s also pushing Biden to blame Manchin and Sinema for the party’s failure to deliver on their agenda.
sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is issuing a fresh warning that Democrats’ chances of winning in the midterms are slipping away fast.
In an interview with Politico published on Thursday, the progressive from Vermont — and the chair of the powerful Senate Budget Committee — said that “Republicans stand an excellent chance of gaining control of the House and quite possibly the Senate.”
It’s not a new sentiment from Sanders, who has watched firsthand as Democrats stalled out on their Build Back Better plan, a package of expansive social spending and climate legislation. But he’s also offering an antidote to their string of political illnesses largely voting from inflation dragging down President Joe Biden’s approval ratings.
He’s pushing Democrats to take a page from the GOP playbook and offer a progressive “Contract with America” that spans the party’s priorities on climate and social programs. It’s meant to be a liberal version of the conservative agenda Republicans spearheaded by Newt Gingrich used to sweep to victory in the 1994 midterm elections.
He sketched out what a Democratic agenda could look like in a brief interview on Thursday with Insider. He said he intends to release a document laying out what should reflect the party’s priorities in the near-future:
Raising the minimum wage to “a living wage”
Establishing affordable child care
Setting up universal pre-K
Expand Medicare so it covers dental, hearing, and vision benefits
Jobs program through a Green New Deal
Student loan forgiveness
Some of those measures, like childcare and pre-K, made up large parts of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan. Sanders wants Biden to acknowledge Democrats can’t achieve their most of their agenda due to resistance from Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a pair of centrist holdouts.
“I think it’s terribly important that the American people understand that the overwhelming majority of the members of the caucus — 47, 48 of them — are prepared to fight,” Sanders told Insider.
Negotiations continue between Senate Majority Chuck Schumer and Manchin continue on a smaller climate and jobs package. But after four meetings, the pair seem no closer to breaking the stalemate. “We’ve got a ways to go,” Schumer said Thursday†
It’s not the first time that Sanders has warned Democrats about what may lay ahead — and how they can turn things around and rally support.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Sanders said that it’s “political suicide” to turn your back on the working class, a group whose support, he told Politico, is “fading away.”
It’s “good politics to become strongly involved in the labor movement,” Sanders told Vanity Fair, adding that throwing support behind workers across the country who are organizing is “the right thing to do from a policy position.”
“I think if the Democrats don’t do that immediately, they are going to look at a very, very bad 2022,” Sanders said.
Supporting the labor movement could potentially be part of Sanders’ new contract with the country. It’s certainly something that’s popular: Approval of labor unions is at its highest since 1965, according to a 2021 Gallup poll. Democrats are especially supportive, with 90% saying they approve.
Sanders has previously said that the country faces two paths. One is “what we are seeing today” — a growing movement towards oligarchy, according to Sanders, “in which a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires own and control a very significant part of the economy.” The other is the growing labor organizing movement.
“It is that growing trade union movement that makes me so very hopeful for the future of this country,” Sanders said in April floor remarks.
Read the original article on Business Insider