Bernie Sanders: Many GOP Leaders ‘Don’t Even Believe in Democracy’

Looking ahead to the 2024 presidential election, Sen. Bernie Sanders accused many in the Republican Party’s leadership of not believing in democracy.

“We live in a nation where you have a major political party, the Republican Party, where many, not all, but many of their leadership doesn’t even believe in democracy,” Sanders told CNN State of the Union host Dana Bash on Sunday. “They maintain the myth that Trump won the last election, they’re trying to keep people from voting, they’re trying to deny women the right to control their own bodies, so that’s a whole issue out there.”

“If you believe in democracy, you want to see more people vote, not fewer people vote, I think the choice is pretty clear, and that choice is Biden,” Sanders added. He went on to say that if Democrats and President Biden can be strong on “working-class issues,” it could lead to a landslide victory.

“Democrats and the president have got to be stronger on working-class issues,” Sanders said. “They have got to make it clear that we believe in a government that represents all, not just the few, take on the greed of the insurance companies, the drug companies, Wall Street, all the big money interests, and start delivering for working-class people.”

The senator also discussed the debt ceiling. While Sen. Ted Cruz is accusing the president of “behaving like a terrorist” by refusing to engage in debt ceiling negotiations with Republicans, Sanders called out the GOP for holding both the American people and the world economy “hostage” over the debt. Biden has pushed for the GOP to agree to raise the debt ceiling and then engage in budget negotiations; Republicans, however, want the administration to agree to cuts before they will agree to raise the debt limit.

“Everybody in Congress has got to understand the United States of America cannot default on its debt. And, by the way, a lot of that debt was accumulated under the Trump administration,” Sanders said. “You pay your bills, or else there will be cataclysmic economic problems in the United States and around the world, massive unemployment and a major recession.”

“I think we can start negotiating tomorrow, but you cannot be holding the American people or the world’s economy hostage,” he continued. “What the Republicans have got to say is, absolutely, we are going to make sure that we pay our debts. Let’s sit down and negotiate a budget.”

It’s worth noting that a significant portion of the country’s accumulated debt comes from policies enacted by the Trump administration, in addition to the American Rescue Act signed by Biden. But Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, have been blaming Biden solely for the need to raise the debt ceiling. That simply is not true.


“They did raise the debt limit enough to accommodate all the borrowing that took place during [Trump’s] presidency, but that doesn’t account for the borrowing that was enacted under President Trump that would take place subsequent to his presidency,” Marc Goldwein, senior vice president for the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told CNN.

During Trump’s presidency, the debt increased by $7 trillion, and Congress raised the debt ceiling three times. Republicans didn’t seem to have a problem with it then.