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Bernie Sanders' platform sounds strangely familiar

CNN's Wolf Blitzer presses Sen. Bernie Sanders on why he hasn't called Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro a dictator.

Posted: Feb 26, 2019 9:30 AM
Updated: Feb 26, 2019 9:30 AM

The CNN town hall with Bernie Sanders on Monday night showed the Vermont senator picking up where he left off in 2016: Calling for higher taxes on the wealthy, single-payer health care and a dramatic expansion of government support for programs including pre-kindergarten and university education.

If much of what Sanders said sounded familiar, it's because many policies that sounded radical and new in 2016 have become mainstream Democratic positions. It's not that Bernie went centrist; instead, the center moved toward him. That is how the Vermont senator raised $10 million in the week after announcing his candidacy for the 2020 nomination, and it's why he polls near the front of the pack of contenders running for the Democratic nomination.

So the town hall sounded like a walk through the standard Democratic talking points, which isn't particularly exciting. Sanders promised to do something about the millions who struggle in poverty. He vowed to slap new taxes on "the billionaire class" to cover the cost of relief for the poor.

The pharmaceutical industry is "the most greedy entity in this country today," he said, with it raking in $50 billion in profits last year while one in five Americans can't afford vital medicines like insulin. (Sanders called for laws to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices with pharmaceutical companies).

Thanks to Sanders' attention to these issues in 2016, now all Democratic candidates must promise to tackle income inequality, the high cost of health care and the stranglehold that monied interests hold over Congress. But that leads to a potential problem for Sanders: other candidates, like Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker can present an identical analysis while offering more sizzle and pizzazz than Sanders can muster with his professorial style.

At the town hall, his proposals went over well with the Washington, DC, audience. The assembled group included a cross-section of core Democratic voters: women, blacks, university-age young adults. Some of the questions reflected audience skepticism about whether the Sanders message can bring people together and coalesce into a force powerful enough to unseat President Trump.

The doubts reflect the reality that following Sanders' progressive message doesn't guarantee victory. Many of the progressive candidates he supported in the 2018 midterms went down to defeat, and Our Revolution, Sanders' political arm, failed to flip any seats in the midterms from Republican to Democrat.

That will be Sanders' toughest case to make. At a time when Democrats want to beat Trump more than anything, Sanders has to persuade the rank-and-file that he is the best salesman of a product now being copied by many others.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 692029

Reported Deaths: 8118
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1420361857
Ramsey59138950
Dakota52802499
Anoka48675484
Washington31035311
Stearns25220241
St. Louis20709336
Scott19922146
Wright18796163
Olmsted16101111
Sherburne13732104
Carver1228652
Clay928595
Rice9218124
Blue Earth883747
Crow Wing7961102
Kandiyohi750289
Chisago725258
Otter Tail680795
Benton6577101
Mower570538
Winona561352
Goodhue557680
Douglas543684
Itasca527671
Beltrami521172
McLeod513464
Steele512821
Isanti497170
Morrison473363
Nobles453850
Becker445859
Polk439975
Freeborn434140
Lyon399854
Carlton395659
Nicollet384747
Pine379526
Mille Lacs360360
Brown354244
Cass350835
Le Sueur345930
Todd328434
Meeker311049
Waseca294725
Martin268733
Wabasha24734
Dodge24655
Hubbard238541
Roseau235924
Houston207416
Redwood204042
Renville202548
Fillmore200810
Pennington193622
Wadena189426
Faribault182825
Sibley178810
Cottonwood178524
Chippewa172739
Kanabec167029
Aitkin157338
Watonwan156711
Rock141819
Jackson135412
Pope13478
Yellow Medicine127020
Pipestone125526
Koochiching122319
Stevens121611
Swift118819
Murray116610
Marshall105818
Clearwater105418
Lake93021
Wilkin90314
Lac qui Parle87024
Mahnomen7069
Big Stone7014
Grant6958
Norman6739
Lincoln6624
Kittson53722
Unassigned50993
Red Lake4937
Traverse4325
Lake of the Woods4124
Cook2140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 438547

Reported Deaths: 6420
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk69441683
Linn26618363
Scott23312265
Black Hawk19397338
Woodbury17483233
Johnson1698692
Dubuque14775221
Pottawattamie13369186
Dallas13048102
Story1211448
Warren707893
Webster6479103
Cerro Gordo6370105
Clinton635898
Des Moines618084
Muscatine5985109
Marshall586981
Sioux547676
Jasper532076
Lee529084
Wapello5230128
Buena Vista479442
Marion464086
Plymouth442185
Henry351341
Jones341159
Bremer331365
Washington330454
Crawford326844
Carroll326553
Benton325756
Boone318636
Mahaska282754
Dickinson276547
Kossuth257471
Clay255629
Jackson253844
Tama246073
Hardin244547
Buchanan244238
Delaware240143
Cedar228025
Fayette227945
Page225724
Wright221741
Winneshiek219237
Hamilton216752
Harrison205476
Madison199920
Clayton199758
Floyd195742
Butler191936
Poweshiek188837
Mills188225
Iowa185927
Cherokee184740
Allamakee181152
Jefferson178238
Lyon178041
Calhoun172213
Hancock170336
Winnebago170131
Cass164356
Louisa161651
Grundy161335
Appanoose158149
Shelby156539
Emmet153241
Franklin152224
Humboldt151626
Union149937
Sac147922
Mitchell146143
Guthrie142132
Chickasaw141618
Palo Alto134527
Clarke130226
Montgomery127940
Keokuk121332
Monroe118733
Howard118422
Ida109838
Davis105025
Greene103012
Pocahontas102623
Monona99034
Lucas98523
Adair97734
Worth9558
Osceola84717
Decatur76710
Fremont76511
Van Buren75221
Taylor73412
Wayne66323
Ringgold63027
Audubon60114
Adams4254
Unassigned270
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