White House hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Manchin fires warning shot on plan to expand Medicare Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor MORE (I-Vt.) will give a speech next week in Washington, D.C., defending democratic socialism, his campaign announced Saturday.
The speech on Wednesday at George Washington University will address how “democratic socialism is the only way to defeat oligarchy and authoritarianism,” according to a press release from his campaign.
Sanders “will make the case that a strong grassroots campaign based on these progressive values is the only way to confront oligarchy and authoritarianism and defeat Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE,” the release states.
The speech comes amid an intensifying debate within the Democratic Party about how to best take on Trump in 2020, with moderate candidates pushing back on a slate of progressive policies such as “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal.
Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist and one of the front-runners in the crowded primary field, has doubled down on his commitment to such policies as he seeks to dethrone centrist Joe BidenJoe BidenTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe House passes sweeping defense policy bill MORE from atop several statewide and national primary polls.
"Democratic socialism to me is creating a government and an economy and a society which works for all, rather than just the top 1 percent," Sanders said at a town hall in April. "It means ending the absurd inequalities that exist today."
While several 2020 candidates have joined Sanders in appealing to the insurgent progressive flank, not all have fallen in line.
Former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperRep. Tim Ryan becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress NY Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 in latest House breakthrough case Florida Democrat becomes latest breakthrough COVID-19 case in House MORE (D) was booed last week when he told delegates at the California Democratic Party convention, “If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer.”
With Trump and several other top Republicans already going on the offensive to label the entire Democratic Party as one in full embrace of socialism, Hickenlooper told The Hill shortly after the California incident, “If we don't draw a clear distinction between Democrats and our candidates and socialism, the Republicans will paint us into a corner that we can't get out of.”
Republicans have also knocked several presidential candidates as they unveil sweeping policies, many of which have price-tags worth trillions of dollars.