Sanders pitches democratic socialism as the way to beat Trump

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) – Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is dropping what’s regarded as a “dirty word” in national politics. It’s “socialism,” which the senator from Vermont says would work for average Americans.

Sanders isn’t backing down from the term despite how unpopular it can be with moderates.

Sanders was in the nation’s capital Wednesday, making his pitch that democratic socialism is what’s needed to win the White House. “Economic rights are human rights,” he stated. “This is what I mean by democratic socialism.”

It’s a message central to Sanders’ brand and one he promoted back in 2016 and is defending today as tries to shore up support among progressives in the 2020 race. He explained, “I believe in a democratic socialism that works for the working families of this country.”

President Trump has already turned that label into a rallying cry. “You have socialists and far-left Democrats that want to destroy everything that we’ve done,” the president said.

But the Vermont senator today fired back: “They may hate democratic socialism because it benefits working people, but they absolutely love corporate socialism that enriches Trump and other billionaires.”

At a diner in Iowa, Joe Biden weighed in on Sanders’ message, saying, “I think Bernie means what he says. I don’t put a whole lot in terms of labels.”

The former vice president still leads the Democratic pack.

A New Monmouth poll in Nevada shows Biden ahead in the state with 36% support, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 19% and Sanders at 13%.

Ahead of the first debate in two weeks, 2020 candidates are kicking their policy focus into high gear. Beto O’Rourke did so as he led a 2-mile pride run to promote his new plan to protect LGBTQ rights. “The Equality Act would ensure that we have full civil right for everyone,” O’Rourke said.

And Kamala Harris unveiled a proposal to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers through executive action.

Meanwhile, Cory Booker stopped by RuPaul’s talk show dishing about his relationship with actress Rosario Dawson.

RuPaul: “You would be the first unmarried president in a long, long time. There was one before.”

Sen. Booker: “The swearing-in isn’t until the 21st of Jan 2021. You never know what might happen between now and then.”

RuPaul: “Because you are seeing someone?”

Sen. Booker: “I am.”

RuPaul: “And it’s someone very famous?”

Sen. Booker: “It’s somebody very special.”

Audience: “Awww.”

But can a modern-day candidate win by embracing socialism? Voters do like some policies based on socialism, like Medicare and Social Security. But a recent Gallop Poll found that less than half of Americans would vote for a socialist candidate.

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