You have worn the mantle of democratic socialist throughout your political career. Today we’re seeing socialism increase in popularity among younger people, and democratic socialists are winning local primaries and elections in states such as New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Montana. What do you think this shift means?
Our opponents can say, “Oh, democratic socialist, it’s radical, it’s fringe-y, it’s crazy.” But when you go issue by issue and you ask the American people what they think, they say, “Yeah, that makes sense.” For example, should the United States join every other major country and guarantee healthcare for all by moving toward Medicare for All? Is that a radical idea? No. Because healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Young people say, “Yeah, of course. That should be a right, yeah. My grandma is on Medicare, she likes it. Why can’t I get it?” Not a radical idea.
Today, in many respects, a college degree is as valuable as a high school degree was 50 years ago. So, when we talk about public education, it should be about making public colleges and universities tuition-free. Is that a radical idea? I don’t think so.
At a time when you have three people, including Jeff Bezos, who own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the American people, is it a radical idea to say that we should significantly raise taxes on the very wealthy and large profitable corporations? Not a radical idea. Rebuilding our infrastructure, creating millions of jobs. Not a radical idea. Immigration reform. Criminal justice reform. The vast majority of the American people support both those ideas.
We are managing to get these ideas out there. The ideas are catching on. And to young people especially, they make sense.
Establishment Ds tend to focus on things that help people once the system has chewed them up, extended unemployment, SNAP, education for those who've lost jobs, job and apprenticeship programs that tend to hand money to firms for hiring people, etc.... These are OK but again, basically just help people who been chewed up by the system while keep the power structure in place.
The D-Socialists are focusing on ideas give the people more power against and protection from the system to begin with. Medicare for All, Stronger Unions, affordable education, these things give more freedom and power to the people. They get to the root of our economic problems rather than an after-the-fact band-aid.