Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday compared other 2020 candidates’ opposition to his support for felons voting while incarcerated with the party’s resistance to his 2016 policies that have transformed progressive factions of the party.
When CNN’s Broke Baldwin pointed to other Democrats disagreeing with his stance on letting incarcerated felons vote, the Vermont senator replied, “Well, fine.”
“Four years ago people disagreed with me on Medicare for All, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, criminal justice reform, spending $1 trillion on rebuilding our infrastructure,” he said. “People disagreed with me, they’ll disagree with me now.”
Sanders penned an op-ed published Tuesday in USA Today, defending his stance on granting felons the right to vote as a way to help remedy America’s history of voter suppression. If President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former personal attorney Michael Cohen go to jail, he wrote, “they should still be able to vote – regardless of who they cast their vote for.” During a CNN town hall earlier this month, Sanders also said that right should be extended to the Boston Marathon bomber.
Sanders told Baldwin: “If you’re a citizen of this country, you have the right to vote.”
Sanders popularized “Medicare for All,” a progressive bid to expand the popular government program while partially or fully eliminating private insurance, during his 2016 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. The formerly fringe policy has garnered support from burgeoning Democratic stars such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
He also discussed Tuesday the Medicare for All proposal he unveiled in the Senate earlier this month, which would expand the program to all Americans over the course of four years and eliminate private health insurance. Four of his 2020 rivals have backed the plan.
“We today are the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right,” Sanders told Baldwin, later adding that “the reason that other countries can do it much more cost effectively is their systems are simple – you walk in and you’re covered.”
His plan would eliminate private healthcare deductibles, co-payments and premiums – raising taxes on, but ultimately at a discount to, most Americans, he said.
“Are your taxes going to go up? Yeah they will, but not as much as your premiums are going down,” Sanders said. “The overwhelming majority of Americans will pay less for health care under a Medicare for All system than they currently pay.”