Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said that for the Democratic party “what was once considered radical is now mainstream," pointing to several issues the party has shifted left on at a candidate training event for the Progressive Change Committee Thursday evening.
"A few years ago in the Senate, I introduced a Medicare for all bill, had zero co-sponsors, this time we have 16 co-sponsors," Sanders said. "In other words, what was once considered radical is now mainstream."
His remarks praising the party's leftward shift on these issues are a shift in tone from comments he made just last week arguing that “the business model for the Democratic Party for the last fifteen years or so has been a failure," and saying the party must work harder to attract millennials.
He also brought up the increased popularity within the party of his fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, a policy that reduced jobs for workers in Seattle.
“What we said is if you work 40 hours a week in the United States, you should not be living in poverty,” Sanders emphasized. “Raise the minimum wage to a living wage — 15 bucks an hour. Well, a few years ago the Democratic Leadership said, ‘$15 an hour? My god. You want to double the federal minimum wage. Maybe — maybe — we can go to $10.10 an hour.’ Now we have 30 cosponsors on $15 an hour.”
Sanders touted the popularity of free college claiming cities and states are “moving in that direction.”
“When we talk about public education, kindergarten through twelfth grade is not enough we’ve got to make public colleges and universities tuition free,” Sanders said, “we have to deal with the absurdity of millions of our people leaving school deeply in debt, well that was also considered to be a radical or crazy idea. Washington Posthad 83 editorials telling us why it was a bad idea now you see all over this country states and cities moving in that direction.”
He also celebrated the popularity of “criminal justice reform and the need to legalize marijuana, oh a crazy, radical idea happening all across the country.”