Sanders to give speech defending democratic socialism

Sanders to give speech defending democratic socialism
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White House hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHickenlooper day-old Senate bid faces pushback from progressives Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Andrew Yang: News coverage of Trump a 'microcosm' of issues facing country 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 TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future 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 BidenBiden evokes 1968, asks voters to imagine if Obama had been assassinated Biden blasts Trump's 'embarrassing' actions heading into G-7 summit Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates 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 HickenlooperIf the Democratic debates were pro wrestling, de Blasio is comic relief Hickenlooper day-old Senate bid faces pushback from progressives The Hill's 12:30 Report: Stocks sink as Trump fights with Fed, China 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.