During the MSNBC Democratic town hall, the appeal of Bernie Sanders was on full display. As Sanders answered questions from voters, it became clear that he is the candidate who is out of build a new American dream.
Video of part 1 of Sanders at MSNBC town hall:
Sen. Sanders said that he was on both sides of Apple/federal government fight. Sanders said he is worried about Big Brother overreach on privacy, but he is also worried about a future terrorist act. He said that there has to be a middle balance and that he believes it is possible to protect our constitutional liberties and fight terrorism.
Chuck Todd played the clip of Sen. Sanders discussing the validity of primarying President Obama in 2012. Sanders drew some groans from the audience for pointing out that it was Hillary Clinton who ran against President Obama in 2008. Sen. Sanders applauded President Obama for his work on the economy and called him a friend, but pointed out that he disagreed with the President on TPP, and when Obama extended Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy. Sanders called his 2012 comments, “a media issue,” and repeated that Obama has done an outstanding job.
Chuck Todd asked about Sanders questioning Bill Clinton for passing NAFTA, deregulation of Wall Street, and welfare reform. Sanders called out Todd for not providing the context and said that overall, he thinks Clinton did a very good job.
The first audience question came from an undocumented immigrant, who asked if Sanders would vote against immigration reform if it wasn’t perfect. Sanders defended his vote against the 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill because it exploited the guest worker programs. Sanders said that he wanted to take the 11 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.
Sanders was asked about his criteria for deportation. He said that his policy is that we should unite families, not divide families. Sanders said immigration reform will be a major priority of his presidency, and he promised to keep President Obama’s executive actions in place if the Congress does not pass immigration reform.
Sen. Sanders was asked a tough question about how turns racism issues into economic issues. Sanders said that he was arrested in for fighting racism in the 1960s and that he was at the March on Washington. Sanders called for real police reform, a path back to society for those convicted of crimes, the abolishment of mandatory sentences, the taking of marijuana out of the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
Sanders was asked if he considers himself a feminist and questioned about how he can understand the discrimination that women face as a white man. Sen. Sanders said that Gloria Steinham made him an honorary woman years ago. He vowed to continue to fight to pass pay equity for women.
After a question about the minimum wage, Sen. Sanders was asked if his free college plan would increase the efficiency and quality of higher education. Sanders talked about the original fight for public education, and how the changing world has made a college degree the equivalent of a high school degree 50 or 60 years ago. Sanders said that he wants every child in America to know that if they study hard and take education seriously, they will be able to get a higher education.
Sanders was asked by a Clinton volunteer how he will fix the VA. Sanders said that the Koch brothers and their allies do want to privatize the VA and that it is a pretty bad idea. Sen. Sanders discussed the passage of the largest and most comprehensive VA reform package while he was chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Sanders said that he apologizes to nobody for his chairmanship of the Veterans Affairs Committee.
Sanders was asked how he would address Islamophobia as president. He answered, “Bluntly and directly.” Sanders said that it is absolutely unacceptable that in 2016 we have people like Donald Trump who is trying go gain votes by scapegoating Muslims and Latinos.
Bernie Sanders called out the birthers for trying to delegitimize Barack Obama’s presidency with racism.
Sanders unloaded on those who call his health care plan rationing and said that the current US healthcare system already has rationing based on money.
The reason Sanders is so appealing to millions of Democrats is that he is talking about restoring the American dream. Donald Trump blusters about making America great again, but Trump never states who exactly he will be making America great for. What Bernie Sanders is offering a new American dream where everyone in the country has healthcare, and no one has to worry about the cost. Sanders is promising to rebuild the ladder of economic opportunity with his free community college plan.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association