Bernie Sanders delivered one of his best national performances yet while answering voter questions at the CNN Democratic Town Hall.
Video of Sanders at CNN Town Hall:
The first question that Sanders took from voters was about his definition of democratic socialism. Sanders delivered his usual answer and tied it up with one sentence at the end which was that democratic socialism means an economy that works for all.
Sanders was asked how he would pay for his ideas and programs. He answered by talking about the upward redistribution of wealth and said that his campaign is about telling the people and corporation who aren’t paying their fair share to pay up. He discussed his tax on Wall Street speculation and said that after the American people bailed out Wall Street, it is time for Wall St. to pay the people back. Sanders was asked by Chris Cuomo if his plan to pay for his proposals was punitive. Sanders said what he is doing has to be put into context. He said he demands that Wall St. pay their fair share of taxes.
Sen. Sanders (I-VT) said that when we live in a nation of so much wealth and income inequality that is not what the American economy should be about. He promised to take on the greed of corporate America and Wall Street.
The next question what Sanders will do to cover the gridlock to implement his initiatives. Sanders said he is probably the most progressive member of the Senate, but he works with Republicans. He said that in his view the Congress is much more worried about protecting the interests of the wealthy and the powerful. He said if we are serious about rebuilding the middle class, the real way to do is to have millions of Americans stand up and say enough is enough.
Sanders was asked about his comments that Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign are part of the establishment, and he clarified that what he said was that sometimes the base of an organization looks at things differently than the leadership. Sanders talked about his 100% pro-choice voting record, and his support for Planned Parenthood. Sanders did his best to answer a question about how he would represent the interests of women as well as the first female president. He really couldn’t answer this one, as a man, he would not have the same understanding of the issues as Clinton. Sanders switched the discussion back to his economic platform. It was a cop out and his worst moment.
Sanders was asked about an ad touting Hillary Clinton’s preparedness for the White House. He lavished praise on Clinton, and said that Democrats are doing much better than Republicans at having a civilized campaign, but that isn’t a high bar. Sanders brought up his contrasts with Clinton on the Iraq war vote, deregulating Wall Street, climate change, trade policy.
Sen. Sanders was asked about how he would work with the gun lobby to pass gun control legislation. Sanders brought up the contrast in how Hillary Clinton is campaigning today compared to her position on guns in 2007-2008. Sanders talked up his record on gun control.
Sanders was asked about his shift on gun manufacturer liability. He talked about the original bill that held the gun shop owner liable for a criminal act. He said that he wants to keep what is good in the legislation and get rid of what’s bad. Cuomo asked him if he was having it both ways. Sanders said no and explained his position that a gun shop owner who is engaging in legal activity should not be held liable for selling a gun.
This was easily the best performance by Bernie Sanders on the national stage as a candidate. Sanders got rid of much of the negativity that has seeped into the Democratic race in the last few weeks. Sanders returned to being the likable candidate, and that only works in his favor.
It is easy to see why Sanders and Clinton are running neck and neck in Iowa. Bernie Sanders is a good candidate who is getting better.