Corporate Democrats wrong to blame election losses on progressive policies or socialism
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont says losses by Democrats cannot be blamed on progressive programs. | Gerald Herbert/AP

I am very proud of the hard work that the progressive community put into electing Joe Biden as our next president.

And let’s be clear: This election was not just a normal election between two candidates. It was much more important than that. It was an election about retaining our democracy, preserving the rule of law, believing in science, and ending pathological lying in the White House. And with a record-breaking turnout, the American people voted to reject President Donald Trump’s racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, religious bigotry, and authoritarianism. That is very good news.

Even so, truth be told, the election results in the House and Senate were disappointing. Despite Joe Biden winning the popular vote by more than 5 million votes, the Democrats lost seats in the House and, so far, have only picked up one seat in the Senate.

Now, with the blame game erupting, corporate Democrats are attacking so-called far-left policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal for election defeats in the House and the Senate. They are dead wrong.

Here are the facts:

  • 112 co-sponsors of Medicare for All were on the ballot in November. All 112 of them won their races.
  • 98 co-sponsors of the Green New Deal were on the ballot in November. Only one of them have lost an election.

It turns out that supporting universal health care during a pandemic and enacting major investments in renewable energy as we face the existential threat to our planet from climate change is not just good public policy. It also is good politics. According to an exit poll from Fox News, no bastion of socialism, 72% of voters favored the change “to a government-run health care plan,” and 70% of voters supported “increasing government spending on green and renewable energy.”

The lesson is not to abandon popular policies like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, living wage jobs, criminal justice reform and universal child care, but to enact an agenda that speaks to the economic desperation being felt by the working class—Black, white, Latino, Asian American, and Native American. People are hurting, and they are crying out for help. We must respond.

All over America, voters approved progressive policies to improve the lives of millions of people:

  • Florida voters passed an initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
  • Colorado voted to provide 12 weeks of paid family leave.
  • Arizona voted to increase taxes on those making over $250,000 to increase funding for public education.
  • Voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota voted to move away from the “war on drugs” and approved legalizing marijuana.

The American people are sick and tired of seeing billionaires and Wall Street become much richer, while veterans sleep out on the streets, our infrastructure crumbles, and young people leave school deeply in debt.

They want a government that works for all, not just the few. That’s the right thing to do, that’s the moral thing to do, and, for the Democratic Party, that is the way to win elections.

The above article was circulated to national media by Our Revolution, the group that sprang from Bernie Sanders’ campaigns in the Democratic primaries.


Sen. Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sen. Sanders of Vermont, Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, is the longest-serving independent in congressional history.