Onetime Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called out the Democratic Party over the weekend for engaging in “identity politics,” arguing that doing so is not helping to expand the party umbrella.
This comes after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the first female nominee of a major political party in the U.S., failed to secure enough electoral votes to win the presidency. Throughout the election, Clinton campaigned with the slogan, “I’m with her,” along with the phrase, “If fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in.”
But Sanders, who came in second to Clinton during the Democratic primaries, said playing the “woman card” just doesn’t make the cut with middle America.
“It is not good enough for somebody to say, ‘I’m a woman, vote for me.’ That is not good enough,” the self-avowed socialist senator told a crowd of supporters at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, according to WBUR-FM. “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 industries.”
Though he ultimately endorsed Clinton, Sanders often criticized the former secretary of state for her record on Wall Street, frequently calling on her to release the transcripts of her high-priced private speeches delivered to big banks such as Goldman Sachs.
He has also long rebuked the Democratic Party for its failure to connect with working-class America, specifically in the states President-elect Donald Trump won: Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
“The working class of this country is being decimated — that’s why Donald Trump won,” Sanders said. “And what we need now are candidates who stand with those working people, who understand that real median family income has gone down.”
He went on to say he is “deeply humiliated” — a line he used earlier this month — that the Democrats “cannot talk to the people where I came from,” meaning the white, working class.
Earlier this month, Sanders was tapped to be chairman of outreach for the Senate Democratic leadership.