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Democratic presidential candidate says his party has to 'draw a clear line': 'We are not socialists'

John Hickenlooper believes party has to distance itself from socialism if it wants to win

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

While most of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are trying to push the party further and further to the left, one has taken a different approach. During an interview Saturday, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said that he feels "strongly that Democrats have to draw a clear line and say, 'We are not socialists.'"

Does this sound familiar?

This is not the first time that Hickenlooper has broken with the rest of the Democratic candidates.

On March 8, Hickenlooper dodged questions from MSNBC host Joe Scarborough about whether or not he was a capitalist, but he also refused to deny that he believed capitalism was good.

On June 1, he told a crowd at the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco that if Democrats ever wanted "to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals," then they had to realize that "socialism is not the answer." The crowd answered with 30 seconds of booing.

On June 12, Hickenlooper tweeted a graphic from his campaign that read "Colorado has the #1 economy in the nation, three years running. We didn't get there with socialism."

What did he say now?

On Saturday, Hickenlooper told CNN's Michael Smerconish he thought Democrats "have to draw a clear line and say, 'We are not socialists.' I mean, the Republicans are already doing it, they are already saying, you know, 'every Democrat's a socialist.' And, clearly, we're not."

He said that during the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats who won were those who presented "pragmatic solutions" and "distanced themselves" from socialism.

In another apparent break from his party, Hickenlooper continued, "I think massive expansions of government, as kind of a fix-all solution to the challenges facing the country, whether you're talking about trying to get to universal health care or address climate change, they're not what American people want, and I don't think they're what Democratic primary voters are gonna want."

Hickenlooper said he knew he would be booed on the stage in San Francisco, but he thought it was important that the Democratic Party distance itself from the term "socialism" if it did not want to reelect "the worst president in this country's history."

One last thing…
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