Jun 12, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Bernie Sanders invokes FDR in "major" speech on democratic socialism

Benie Sanders speaking in front of a podium, wearing a suit and glasses. In the background you can see an American flag and the podium has one of Sanders' campaign signs on it.

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

2020 Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders invoked former President Franklin D. Roosevelt Wednesday in what his campaign billed as a "major address" on democratic socialism at George Washington University.

"Today I am proposing we complete the unfinished work of Franklin Roosevelt and the Democratic Party by putting forth a 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights. That means: The right to a decent job that pays a living wage; The right to health care; The right to a quality education; The right to affordable housing; The right to a clean environment and the right to a secure retirement. ... Over the course of this election my campaign has been releasing -- and will continue to release -- detailed proposals addressing each of these yet to be realized economic rights."

Why it matters: Sanders contended on Tuesday that the U.S. is more ready for a democratic socialist president than when he ran in 2016, but argued that his definition of the term is not the same as the one President Trump will use to attack him. He reiterated that stance in Wednesday's speech.

"While President Trump and his fellow oligarchs attack us for our support of democratic socialism, they don’t really oppose all forms of socialism.
They may hate democratic socialism because it benefits working people, but they absolutely love corporate socialism that enriches Trump and other billionaires."

The big picture: Socialism is losing its Soviet-era stigma, a Harris poll for "Axios on HBO" shows. The poll found 4 in 10 Americans would prefer living in a socialist country over a capitalist one — and it's the preferred system of 55% of women age 18–54.

Go deeper: Bernie Sanders on the issues, in under 500 words

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