Bernie Sanders asked Rust Belt voters to embrace his most progressive ideas at a Pennsylvania town hall aired on the conservative Fox News Network as he tries to make inroads with the working-class voters who were drawn to President Donald Trump in 2016.
Sanders promoted his proposals for free public college tuition and a “Medicare for All” government-run health program and defended democratic socialism as a system to create a government and economy “that works for all.”
Asked whether his plans bring big price tags that would drive up the national debt, the Democratic presidential contender scoffed at the suggestion, saying his plans for more taxes on the wealthy and the biggest multinational corporations would cover the costs of his ideas. He said it’s Trump, who ushered through a massive tax-cut plan in 2017, who doesn’t care about soaring debt.
“You’re talking to the wrong guy,” Sanders said in an hour-long event aired on the network that is the president’s favorite news outlet. “We pay for what we are proposing, unlike the president of the United States.”
The Fox News appearance followed a three-day campaign swing through Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — all states that Trump narrowly won in 2016 that will be crucial again in 2020. Sanders used the trip and the Monday night Fox forum to take on Trump, looking past competitive early-state primaries against 17 Democratic rivals and appealing directly to Trump’s core base of white working-class voters by presenting his version of economic populism.
The backdrop for the town hall was an abandoned steel plant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the heart of a 2020 battleground region. Trump won Pennsylvania, but just barely, taking the state by less than a percentage point over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Bethlehem is nestled between two counties in eastern Pennsylvania, one that Trump won with just 50 percent of the vote and the other narrowly captured by Clinton with 50 percent.
Sanders made clear that strong opposition to the 2017 $1.5 trillion tax cut — which no Democrat in Congress supported — will be at the center of his second bid for the presidency. He called a tax system that has let large corporations such as Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. pay little or no taxes “a disgrace.” He defended proposals for higher taxes geared toward the largest U.S. companies and a top individual tax rate of 52 percent.
— jordan (@JordanUhl) April 15, 2019
More news/videos/tweets/etc. in the comments.