DIAZ-BALART: But, Senator, you have often talked of the need for a political revolution in the United States.
DIAZ-BALART: You’re a democratic socialist. When — when some Latinos hear those words, they think Venezuela and Cuba, Chavez and the Castro brothers, 57 years of dictatorship.
Talk to the people who escaped those regimes today and hear you use those words and wonder exactly…
DIAZ-BALART: — what you have in mind.
SANDERS: Sure. When I talk about democratic socialist, you know what I’m talking about?
Social Security, one of the most popular and important programs in this country, developed by FDR to give dignity and security to seniors. And it has been enormously successful at reducing poverty among seniors.
When I talk about democratic socialist, I am talking about Medicare, a single payer health care system for the elderly. And in my view, we should expand that concept to all people. I believe that everybody in this country should be entitled to health care as a right. And the most effective way to do it is through a Medicare for All single payer program.
When I talk about democratic socialist, I’m not looking at Venezuela. I’m not looking at Cuba. I’m looking at countries like Denmark and Sweden.
And you know what goes on in those countries?
All of the kids who have the ability and desire go to college.
And you know how much it costs?
It is free. They have child care systems which are outstanding. They have public educational systems which are extremely strong. The retirement benefits for their elderly much better than they are in the United States.
The bottom line is, when I talk about democratic socialist, what I mean is moving away from where we are right now. As a member of the Senate, let me break the bad news to all of you. We have a Congress right now which is dominated by Wall Street and big money interests.
The members of Congress are not worried about the people making nine bucks an hour. They’re not worried about the kids who can’t afford to go to college. They’re not worried about people who have no health insurance.
That’s not their worry. Their worry is getting campaign contributions from very, very wealthy people and providing tax breaks for those who don’t need it.
SANDERS: So in one sense, Jose, we’re not talking about Venezuela, we’re not talking about Cuba. We are talking about the concept, which I don’t think is a radical idea, of having a government which works to represent the needs of the middle class and working families rather than just the top 1 percent.