Bernie Sanders Says Dems Should Zero In On Economy, Raises Concerns Over Voter Turnout

"Is the abortion issue important? Yes. But we have also got to focus on the struggles of working people to put food on their table," the senator said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday said he is “worried” about the turnout of young and working-class Democratic voters in the upcoming midterm elections, calling on the party to show what’s at stake with the economy if Republicans win.

“I am worried about the level of voter turnout among young people and working people who will be voting Democratic,” Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “What Democrats have got to do is contrast their economic plan with the Republicans’.”

While Sanders recognized the significance of issues like abortion following the overturning of Roe v. Wade over the summer, he said Democrats should not neglect the economic issues facing everyday Americans.

“Is the abortion issue important? Yes. But we have also got to focus on the struggles of working people to put food on their table,” he said.

The Vermont independent and two-time Democratic presidential candidate said Democrats should show the GOP is unwilling to fight drug companies and is prepared to cut benefits.

“They want to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid at a time when millions of seniors are struggling to pay their bills,” he said.

Sanders also rejected the idea that President Joe Biden is to blame for inflation, noting that most countries around the world are seeing even higher rates of inflation as a result of supply chain disruption due to the pandemic, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and “corporate greed.”

“Check out the profits of the oil companies, the drug companies, the food companies. Their sky-high profits are ripping off the American people,” he said.

Sanders said Republicans’ plans to lower inflation will likely be to cut workers’ wages.

“I think it is important to take the attack to the Republicans. What do they want to do, other than complain?” Sanders asked.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended Democrats’ campaign strategy in the midterms.

“Elections are about the future. They’re about the economy. Everybody knows that,” Pelosi told CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday. “Nobody said we’re doing abortion rather than the economy, but it’s — it’s about both.”

As of September, inflation stood at 8.2% despite the Federal Reserve’s effort to tame it with repeated interest rate hikes.

The Fed is looking at raising interest rates again in November by 0.75%, but will reportedly announce a smaller hike in December, according to The Wall Street Journal.

But Sanders wants the Fed to stop raising interest rates, warning the practice will lead to high unemployment and lower wages.

For now, the jobs market is still strong, with unemployment at 3.5%.

But, economists have been sounding an alarm that a recession is in the cards for the U.S.

New Bloomberg Economics model projections show a recession is 100% likely in the next year.

The International Monetary Fund has also projected the U.S. economy will grow by only 1% in 2023, in contrast with the 5.7% it grew in 2021.

Sanders said it’s “hard to say” whether the U.S. is headed toward a recession.

“I think, if we do the right things, we can protect the working class of this country,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Biden, though, has said he does not expect a recession.

“I don’t think there will be a recession. If it is, it will be a very slight recession,” Biden told “CNN Tonight” last week.

Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, echoed Biden, telling the Financial Times the U.S. economy has the required “strength and resilience” to avoid an economic downturn.

Biden has also resisted calls from Republicans to agree to spending cuts in exchange for avoiding a confrontation over the debt ceiling if they win back control of the House in November.

“You have to increase the debt ceiling,” Sanders, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, said, calling the talk on the Republican side “irresponsible.”

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