While affirming that he “strongly” disagrees with former Newt Gingrich, who led the GOP in the House in the mid-1990s, “on virtually every issue,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is calling on Democrats in Congress to rip a page of out the Georgia Republican’s playbook by creating—and aggressively pushing—a new progressive version of the Contract With America in order to galvanize the nation, offer real solutions to its most urgent problems, and go beyond being simply anti-Trump.
In stark contrast to Gingrich’s original version—”a radical right-wing agenda full of tax breaks for the wealthy, massive cuts to programs vital to working families, and racist and cruel bills to ‘reform’ welfare and our criminal-justice system”—Sanders argues in a Washington Post op-ed on Thursday that Democrats should instead forge a vision that “reflects the needs of working Americans — centered on economic, political, social, racial and environmental justice.”
While celebrating the “Blue Wave” in the midterms that saw Democrats reclaim control of the U.S. House and acheive major wins in state houses and governors’ mansions nationwide, Sanders writes that while it is clear a majority of the American people “rejected President Trump’s agenda benefiting the wealthy and the powerful, as well as his racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and religious bigotry,” it simply “is not good enough for Democrats to just be the anti-Trump party.”
If Democrats, he writes, “want to keep and expand their majority in the House, take back the Senate and win the White House, Democrats must show the American people that they will aggressively stand up and fight for the working families of this country — black, white, Latino, Asian American or Native American, men and women, gay or straight. This means addressing the crisis of a broken criminal-justice system and reforming inhumane immigration policies. But it also means fighting to expand a middle class that has been disappearing for more than 40 years, reducing inequality in both income and wealth — which has disproportionately hurt African Americans and Hispanics — and aggressively combating climate change, the most urgent threat facing our planet.”
Specifically, argues Sanders, the new Democratic majority in the House should spend its first 100 days next year passing an unmistakably bold legislative agenda that includes:
The Thanksgiving op-ed from Sanders comes a week before the independent senator will deliver the keynote address at a “gathering” of national and international progressive leaders in his home state of Vermont.
The event, coordinated by The Sanders Institute, founded by Jane Sanders, “will convene 250 leading progressive minds to envision – and to actualize – a better future for our country and the world. Reaching across generations and embracing the inherent synergies across the progressive platform, participants will discuss and debate our nation’s most pressing issues and offer innovative solutions.”
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