Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., hasn’t been shy about promoting socialist policies such as universal health care, but when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked him if he envisions America becoming a socialist nation, the 2020 hopeful didn’t give a straight answer.
In a town-hall-style interview, Blitzer recalled President Trump’s declaration in his State of the Union address earlier this month.
Blitzer asked: “Senator, President Trump said in a State of the Union address, and I am quoting him now, this is the president, ‘America will never be a socialist country.’ Will that hold true if you’re elected president?”
Sanders replied: “If I am elected president, we will have a nation in which all people have health care as a right. Whether Trump likes it or not. We are going to make public colleges and universities tuition free. We are going to raise the minimum wage to a living wage of at least 15 bucks an hour, and whether Trump likes it or not, when I talk about human rights, you know what that also means, it means that our kids and grandchildren have the human right to grow up in a planet that is healthy and habitable. And it is really a disgrace and an embarrassment that we have a president who rejects science, who does not even understand that climate change is real and caused by human activity, who does not understand what this planet will look like in years to come if we do not go forward boldly and transform our energy system away from fossil fuels.”
Hot Air blogger Jazz Shaw called Sanders’ reply a “complete non-answer.”
“Despite proudly labeling himself with the tag in other venues, Sanders studiously avoids even saying the ‘S word’ in that long and rambling answer,” he wrote.
“So he’s not saying he will make America a socialist nation … but he’s also not saying he won’t. Let’s see how well that one plays in the heartland next year.”
Blitzer also asked Sanders why he continues to refuse to label Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro a dictator.
“Well, he, I think it’s fair to say that the last election was undemocratic. But there are still democratic operations taking place in their country,” Sanders said. “The point is, what I am calling for right now is internationally supervised free elections.”
Shaw commented that no amount of international monitors would make an election under the current regime either free or fair.
“That’s because they live under the thumb of a socialist dictator, no matter how much Sanders wants to avoid insulting Maduro,” he wrote.
Shaw noted Sanders was the far-left outsider in 2016, but this year, “the field is packed with people struggling to outdo each other in terms of veering as far left as possible.”