Lindsey Graham is frightened of the American people. And, to be completely fair, he probably should be. He's spent his entire two-and-a-half long political career making their lives worse. And he has no intention of changing now. Instead he told a Fox audience during a debate with Bernie yesterday that he owns an AR-15: "If you ever have to defend yourself, maybe a double barrel shotgun at your house if everything breaks down and the mob’s coming, [is] not enough. We’re not going to ban assault weapons."
I haven't been able to find a YouTube of the full Bernie v Lindsey debate yesterday so that's a small piece above and below is another piece I picked up on Twitter, which you can find on the bottom of the page and click on and listen to. I don't think the NY Times or the Washington Post covered it either but maybe I just can't find their coverage or maybe they'll report on it before this post goes up. Since it was physically in Boston and hosted by Fox Nation, Fox and the Boston Herald covered it, though, from what I can see, not the more establishment Boston Globe. And a local South Carolina paper covered it pretty well.
The Boston Herald's Matthew Medsger reported that Graham went right for the only thing conservatives-- who have no solutions to any of the problems they create-- ever go for: demagoguery. Stupidly, Graham began with typical GOP politics-as-usual: "Do yourself a favor and ask yourself the following question, am I better off today than I was two years ago? And if you are, you were in a world of hurt two years ago, because most people are not better off today." If Bernie wanted to play that game, he could have talked about knee-jerk obstruction from the Senate Republicans but that kind of tit-for-tat bullshit was supposed to be what this debate wasn't about. The purpose was to show "the potential for those of differing beliefs to still come together for civil discourse," in the case of this particulate debate, on the economy."
Oddly, the best coverage I found was in an English newspaper, The Guardian. "Sanders," wrote Adam Gabbatt, "gave an unfettered breakdown of Medicare for all, a living wage, and increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans. For Fox viewers it was a rare opportunity to hear a different perspective on policies which are regularly demonized by rightwingers Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, Fox News’ two most watched hosts."
For Sanders, it was a chance to reach a new audience, and he wasted no time before diving into a signature issue-- universal healthcare.
“In the United States, Lindsey, we spend twice as much per capita on healthcare compared to the people of any other country, while major countries like Canada, the UK, Germany manage to supply healthcare to all their people,” Sanders said.
“Why is that?” he continued. “Because they’re not having insurance companies ripping off the system.”
Several polls have shown that a majority of Americans support Medicare for all, despite the Republican refrain that much of the US public is thrilled with their private health insurance.
“The real question is what the American people want. And you know what the American people do want? They do want Medicare for all,” Sanders said.
“You talk about the joys and beauties of private insurance. Talk to the millions of workers who lost their private insurance during Covid,” Sanders said to Graham.
...He accused Sanders of being out of touch.
“America deserves better than this. We can do better than this but the path charted by Senator Sanders is full-on socialism,” Graham said, after a conversation about gas prices and rising inflation.
“And it’s not going to fix America. We are not a socialist nation. There is a better way, I promise you this.”
Graham did not give specifics on his better way.
“If I’m chairman of any committee, hopefully the budget committee, I’ll sit down with Democrats and Republicans and find a way to fix our national debt,” he said.
After being criticized by Graham for being a “socialist”, Sanders leaned into the political philosophy and offered an ardent defense.
“Do you think raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is socialistic? Do you think doing what every major country does – guaranteeing healthcare to all people – is socialistic? Do you think expanding Medicare to cover dental care is socialistic?” Sanders said.
Sanders had previously appeared on Fox News for a “town hall” style event during his 2020 presidential campaign. That time, to the surprise of many, he was applauded by the Fox News live audience several times as he explained some of his progressive policy ideas.
...Sanders and Graham unsurprisingly found little common ground, although they agreed change was required.
“You’ve got to get new people in Washington,” said Graham, who has been in Congress for more than 26 years.
Sanders offered a bigger vision.
“I think most people, frankly, will tell you what they tell me: that the Congress is way, way out of touch with the needs of the American people,” Sanders said, adding: “We have a corrupt political system dominated by wealthy campaign contributors.”
This imagine is a live link. You can click it to listen to Bernie excoriating the South Carolina reactionary's policies: