(CNSNews.com) - If Democrats don’t define themselves as not socialists, Republicans will label them as socialists, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Thursday during the second Democratic presidential debate in Miami.
“You’ve warned that Democrats will lose in 2020 if they embrace socialism as you put it. You were booed at the California Democratic Convention when you said that. Only one candidate on this stage - Senator Sanders identifies himself as a Democratic socialist. What are the policies or positions of your opponents that you think are veering towards socialism?” NBC’s “Today Show” host Savannah Guthrie asked.
“I think that the bottom line is if we don’t clearly define that we are not socialists, the Republicans are going to come at us every way they can and call us socialists, and if you look at if you look at the Green New Deal, which I admire the sense of urgency and how important it is to do climate change - I’m a scientist - but we can’t promise every American a government job,” Hickenlooper said.
“If you want to get universal health care coverage - I believe that health care is a right and not a privilege - but you can’t expect to eliminate private health insurance for 180 million people - many of whom don’t want to give it up,” he said.
“In Colorado, we brought businesses and non-profits together. We got near universal health care coverage. We were the first state in America to bring the environmental community and the oil and gas industry to ... aggressively address methane emissions, and we are also the first place to expand reproductive rights on a scale basis, and we reduced teen pregnancy by 54 percent,” Hickenlooper said.
“We’ve done the big progressive things that people said couldn’t be done. I’ve done what pretty much everyone else up here is still talking about doing,” he added.
“Senator Sanders, I’ll give you a chance to weigh in here. What is your response to those who say nominating a socialist would re-elect Donald Trump?” Guthrie asked.
“Well I think the responses of the polls, last poll I saw had us 10 points ahead of Donald Trump, because the American people understand that Trump is a phony, that Trump is a pathological liar and a racist and that he lied to the American people during his campaign. He said he was going to stand up for working families,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“Well, President Trump, you’re not standing up for working families when you’re trying to 32 million people off the health care that they have and that 83 percent of your tax benefits go to the top one percent. That’s how we beat Trump. We expose him for the fraud that he is,” Sander said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said she disagreed with both Hickenlooper and Sanders’ “perspectives.”
“The debate we’re having in our party right now is confusing, because the truth is there’s a big difference between capitalism on the one hand and greed on the other, and so all the things that we’re trying to change is when companies care more about profits than they do about people. So if you’re talking about ending gun violence, it’s the greed of the NRA and the gun manufacturers companies that make any progress impossible,” she said.
“It’s the greed of the insurance companies and the drug companies when we want to get health care as a right and not a privilege, so there need not be disagreement in the party, because in truth, we want healty capitalism. We don’t want corrupted capitalism, which is the definition of greed,” Gillibrand added.