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Sanders Says Biden Must Move 'in a Different Direction' to Win Supporters

Newsweek logo Newsweek 4/9/2020 Jeffery Martin
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In his first television interview since dropping out of the Democratic presidential race Wednesday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told late-night host Stephen Colbert that former Vice President Joe Biden could pull in supporters from the Sanders camp if he indicated a move towards more progressive politics.

Sanders suspended his presidential campaign Wednesday, leaving Biden as the presumptive Democratic nominee to run against President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

While stopping short of fully endorsing Biden's presidential run, Sanders said he had been in touch with Biden's campaign and hoped to "work with Joe to move him in a more progressive direction."

"Joe is a good politician and he understands that in order to defeat the president, to defeat Trump, he's going to have to bring new people into his political world and that he's going to have to listen to their needs—young people, working people—and maybe start moving in a different direction in some degree than he has in the past."

Newsweek reached out to Biden's campaign for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Biden skewed high with voters over the age of 50 during campaign polling while Sanders consistently received higher numbers from younger voters. Sanders said that the needs of the demographic that supported him needed to be addressed by Biden.

"I think what Joe has to do, and I think he will do," Sanders said, "is look at what are those issues that young people and working class people who supported me—what are they concerned about?"

Among the issues Sanders encouraged Biden to "be bold" about were the raising of the minimum wage to $15 per hour, making public colleges and universities tuition-free and immigration reform.

"Right now today in America because of Trump, you've got millions and millions of wonderful people who have been in this country for decades who are working hard," Sanders said. "They're working right not today on dangerous jobs. But they are scared to death that they may be deported because of Trump."

Bernie Sanders wearing a suit and tie: Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that presumptive nominee Joe Biden must listen to the needs of "younger people, working people" in order to win their support. © berniesanders.com/Getty Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that presumptive nominee Joe Biden must listen to the needs of "younger people, working people" in order to win their support.

Under his immigration reform proposal, Biden has said he will bring back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which was designed to protect the rights of undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children but have known no other real home. After passing a background check, those people were offered work permits and deportation protection.

Trump's attempt to fully repeal DACA is expected to be heard and ruled upon by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020.

Biden is widely seen as a moderate Democrat whose centrist policies may have helped unite a large part of the Democratic party. Most of the Democratic candidates who dropped out of the race, including former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Both Buttigieg and Klobuchar were considered to be strong contenders for the Democratic nomination early on in the race.

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In a statement released Wednesday, Biden addressed Sanders' supporters and invited them to join his campaign.

"I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country," Biden wrote. "I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome. You're needed."

"Together we will defeat Donald Trump," Biden continued. "And when we do that, we'll not only do the hard work of rebuilding this nation—we'll transform it."

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