After suspending his campaign for president, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said he will work hard to make sure that Joe Biden becomes president, but added, “He’s going to have to listen to and respond to the needs of a whole lot of people who have not been overly enthusiastic about his campaign up to now.”
Sanders said the former vice president will have to do a better job reaching out to young and low-income voters to defeat President Donald Trump.
Despite suspending his campaign on Wednesday, Sanders’ name will remain on the ballot in the coming primaries and he will likely continue to amass delegates. “We would like to get as many delegates as we can so that we have a stronger position at the Democratic convention to help us shape the new platform of the Democratic Party and other issues that the DNC deals with,” Sanders said in an interview with PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff on Friday.
Looking back at the successes of his campaign, Sanders said he believes he has won the ideological battle. “Ideas that I fought for four or five years ago, which everybody considered to be radical and extreme, are now part of the mainstream discussion,” Sanders said. He also said his ideas represent the future of the country because they are popular with young people. “We did very poorly, and I don’t know why, to tell you the truth, with older people,” Sanders said. “But we have done phenomenally well with younger people.”
Since announcing he was ending his race, Sanders said he has been on the phone with progressives across the country to talk about where the movement he built will go from here. “We are a strong movement and history will determine what happens in the future,” he said.
More highlights from the interview:
- On Biden’s pick for his running mate: Sanders declined to say how he thinks his supporters would respond to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., or Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., as running mates for Biden, but he did say, “I think the more progressive the vice presidential candidate that he nominated, the better it would be in terms of the kind of response that our supporters would provide him.”
- On his proposal to expand Medicare during coronavirus: Sanders announced a new proposal Friday to guarantee health care to all Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. He said this legislation is aimed at the uninsured, including the millions of workers who have lost their jobs, and subsequently their health care. “It’s my view that in the midst of this terrible, terrible crisis, when people have so much to worry about, the least we can do is to say to all of those people, ‘You know what, you go to the doctor when you’re sick,’” Sanders said. The coverage would be in effect until a COVID-19 vaccination is widely available to the public, he said. The proposal would cost an estimated $150 billion over four months, according to Sanders. “I think that will take a huge burden off the shoulders of so many of our people,” he said. “And that is the very least that we should be doing right now.”
- On voting during the pandemic: Sanders said one of his highest priorities is making sure that every American is able to vote safely in the November elections. He said the Wisconsin election on Tuesday — which was not delayed despite efforts by the Democratic governor to hold off until the summer — was among the ugliest things he has seen in politics, and put the blame on Wisconsin Republicans. “What they essentially said to people is, ‘You’re going to have to put your life on the line in order to cast a ballot,’” Sanders said. “And that is just unbelievably disgraceful.” Sanders said voting rights will be a priority for him in upcoming legislation.