Sanders defended the principles of democratic socialism as a natural extension of former President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and accused his Republican critics of “corporate socialism.”
The senator from Vermont said his vision of democratic socialism would guarantee a fair deal and basic economic rights for all Americans. Sanders said this be instrumental in defeating Republican President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
Roosevelt’s Depression-era New Deal policies, which included public works jobs, strong banking and financial regulations and the Social Security retirement program, made huge progress in protecting the needs of working families, Sanders said.
“Today in the second decade of the 21st century we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion,” he said in a speech at George Washington University designed to fight back against critics including Trump who have attacked him as an extremist for embracing the socialist tag.
Sanders, who is running second in opinion polls among the more than 20 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the right to challenge Trump in 2020, said Republicans were more than happy to exercise their own version of socialism by bailing out Wall Street and corporate interests that helped line their own pockets.
“They may hate democratic socialism because it benefits working people, but they absolutely love corporate socialism that enriches Trump and other billionaires,” he said.
Sanders also has taken heat over the socialist tag from some of his Democratic rivals. Before the speech on Wednesday, Democratic candidate John Delaney issued a statement criticizing his views.
“Socialism — or any new name Senator Sanders has for it — is the wrong answer; the right answer is to make capitalism more just and inclusive,” said Delaney, a former member of Congress.