It’s bad news for the Democrats. But, after the Republicans have taken the Senate by storm, Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is also taking note.
One of the most progressive voices in the Senate, he’s made huge calls for climate change legislation, universal healthcare, same-sex marriage and minimum wage.
He joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson for a look at what this new Senate means for him.
Interview Highlights: Sen. Bernie Sanders
On the low voter turnout
“I was disturbed by the very low voter turnout and the fact that especially something like 85 percent of the young people didn’t bother to show up to vote and the vast majority of low-income working people didn’t vote as well… I think there is a profound anger and disgust, if I could use that word, at the political establishment; there is anger at the corporate establishment; there is anger at the media establishment. People are hurting and they don’t see folks in power standing up and fighting for them. They’re seeing that their kids can’t afford to go to college and they’re seeing 95 percent of all new income going to the top one percent and then there seeing this top one percent spending hundreds and hundreds of millions dollars on elections in order to elect the candidates who will protect them. So I think people are angry and they’re frustrated and they’re kind of giving up on a lot of American institutions.”
On the Republican agenda
“If you drill down a little bit deeper and you look at the Republican agenda – man, people don’t want that agenda. Yesterday we saw in some conservative states for example, people voted to raise the minimum wage pretty significantly. In Washington, Republicans very much are opposed to that. If you look at the polling out there, people want a massive federal jobs program to rebuild our infrastructure and create millions of jobs—Republicans oppose that. Republicans are opposed to pay equity for women workers, which is what the American people want. And what we’re going to see in a couple of months, I suspect this will surprise some of the folks who voted Republican yesterday, is that Republicans are going to move aggressively to cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. They’re going to give huge tax breaks to the rich and large corporations. Is that what the American people want? Poll after poll tells me no.”
On Republicans’ ‘clever’ campaigning
“What did the Republicans campaign on? What did they say to the American people that they would do—other than the fact that they would try to defeat candidates who voted with Barack Obama—what was their agenda, did they talk about it?…I think they ran a very clever campaign and the campaign was ‘Are you hurting today?’ And the American people say yes. ‘The fault is Barack Obama, vote these guys out.’ That was their campaign and it worked. But I don’t recall the Republicans telling us what they intend to do.”