Sanders to give speech defending democratic socialism

Sanders to give speech defending democratic socialism
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White House hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally 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. 

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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 John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally 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 BidenFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally 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 Wright HickenlooperPoll: Biden leads Sanders by 22 points Poll: Biden leads Sanders by 22 points Democrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate 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.