Bernie Sanders looks likely to become the only Socialist in the Senate. Why? Because of his policies.
We have to develop a strong economic message which says every American is entitled to health care through a national health care program. And we’re not going to allow these large corporations to push through trade agreements which allow them to throw Americans out on the street and run to China. We’re not going to give tax breaks to billionaires and then cut back on the needs of our elderly or poor or kids or education. We’re not going to privatize Social Security — in fact, we’re going to strengthen it. We’re going to provide quality education for every kid in America, from preschool through college. We have to take on these corporate leaders who are selling out the American people, whose allegiance is now much more to China than it is to the United States. If we have the courage to take these people on, I think we can overwhelm Bush and his friends.
What about the Republican attack machine?
Q: Do you think they’re going to use the socialist label against you, and do you think that’s going to matter?
Sanders: No, I doubt it will make a dent. I’ve run for statewide office plenty of times, and people know me. If you look at what they did to Max Cleland and what they did to John Kerry, we have a pretty good idea of what they can do. It’s the politics of personal destruction. They are incapable of debating issues, because their positions on all of the issues are horrendous. Their style has always been to try to personally destroy whom they run against. So we expect a great deal of negativity.
I won my last election by forty points. The Republican I ran against, at the end of the campaign, had decided that I was “a friend of terrorists” and “a friend of pedophiles.” That’s the kind of crap they came out with. I expect that’s the kind of crap they’ll come out with again.
Their weakness is they have nothing to say. What are they going to say about the economy? What are they going to say about tax policy when they give tax breaks to billionaires and inadequately fund veterans’ benefits? What do they say about the environment when they are among the few remaining people on Earth who do not believe in global warming and have just passed a disastrous energy bill that has almost no energy conservation or sustainable energy? What can they say about Social Security when the vast majority of the people don’t want to privatize it?
On issue after issue they are bankrupt. The only thing they can do is try to destroy the character and the integrity of their opponent. That’s all that they have left.