In a speech to supporters on Sunday, the former presidential candidate urged the Democratic party to de-emphasize identity politics and place more of an effort on winning votes via convincing arguments.
When a member of the 1,000 person audience in Boston asked for his advice on how to become the second Latina senator, Sanders responded by discouraging her from relying on people to continue forming positions based on the interests of the social groups they belong to.
“It is not good enough for somebody to say, ‘Hey, I’m a Latina, vote for me,’ That is not good enough. I have to know whether that Latina is going to stand up with the working class of this country, and is going to take on big money interests,” he said. “This is where there is going to be division within the Democratic Party. It is not good enough for someone to say, ‘I’m a woman! Vote for me!’ No, that’s not good enough. What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industry.”
Sanders’ comments echo an issue that many found with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Clinton, who was accused of consistently playing her “woman card” throughout the 2016 election season, became the first woman to secure a major political party’s nomination, but she later failed to become the first female President of the United States.
While Democrats are using the post-election time to reassess what went wrong, Sanders offers another piece of advice for 2020: “The working class of this country is being decimated — that’s why Donald Trump won,” the Vermont senator said. “And what we need now are candidates who stand with those working people, who understand that real median family income has gone down.”