Politico

Sanders ‘worried’ about Democratic midterm turnout, urges focus on economy

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday he’s worried about turnout levels of young Democratic voters ahead of the November midterm elections.

Asked by CNN “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper about Democratic voters’ “energy levels,” the Vermont senator said, “I am worried about the level of voter turnout among young people and working people who will be voting Democratic.”

Sanders continued to suggest that Democrats should frame their midterm approach around economic talking points — and not abortion — to drive turnout.

“I think again what Democrats have to do is contrast their economic plan with the Republicans’. … They want to cut social security, Medicare and Medicaid at a time when millions of seniors are struggling to pay their bills,” he said.

“So I think what we have to do is contrast what a strong, pro-worker Democratic position is with the corporate agenda of the Republicans,” he added.

Sanders defended the administration’s handling of the post-pandemic economy, which recent polling suggests is top of voters’ minds heading into the Nov. 8 midterms.

“I think it’s important that when we talk about inflation, Republicans will say, well, this is Joe Biden’s fault. Really? Our inflation rate is much too high. … Inflation is a global problem caused by the breaking of supply chains, because of the war in Ukraine, and a significant part by corporate greed,” Sanders said.

“We need an aggressive government that says we’re on your side not on the side of the billionaires,” he added.

Sanders, who is chair of the Senate Budget Committee, backed President Joe Biden on opposing the elimination of the debt ceiling, projected to be a key issue should Republicans take back the House and Senate in November. “You have to increase the debt ceiling,” Sanders said.

In response to Tapper pointing out that crime is second only to inflation in a recent poll of voters’ concerns, Sanders said crime is a “huge problem” all over the country. He advised Democrats to focus on issues like drug addiction in “a smart way, not in a way that foments fear.”

“Crime is a real issue. Violence is a real issue. I go all over the state of Vermont. There is a drug problem and the addiction to drugs and the violence drugs causes, it’s a huge problem all over this country,” Sanders said.

“How do you deal with the growing addiction, the opioid crisis? That means making investment in our young people in good education, in good job training, and making sure we have good law enforcement doing the right job all over this country,” he added.

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