Bernie Sanders says supporters of his presidential campaign who are considering Gary Johnson should look long and hard at the Libertarian nominee’s policies before thinking of voting for the third-party candidate.
“Look at his point of view on issues like the environment, on climate change, on the economy,” Sanders said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. “And I think, if any of the people who voted for me take a hard look what he stands for, I think — and understand where he’s coming from — they will not be supporting him.”
On climate change, Johnson admits it is “probably” happening and that humans are “probably” causing it — but believes the federal government should focus “on regulations that protect us from real harm.” (In 2011, he said, “The sun is going to actually grow and encompass the Earth, right? So global warming is in our future.”)
In July, the former New Mexico governor was asked on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” whether he had a “comprehensive plan to combat climate change.”
“No,” Johnson replied.
Then in August, after signaling he would consider a carbon tax — something Sanders endorsed during the primary — Johnson told supporters at a rally in New Hampshire he had “determined that, you know what, it’s a great theory, but I don’t think it can work.”
Bernie Sanders: If my supporters take a hard look at Gary Johnson's policies, "they will not be supporting him" https://t.co/hNpxWCaT7D
— CNN (@CNN) October 2, 2016
Johnson also supports a number of things Sanders built his campaign political fighting against — like corporate donations in politics and the Trans-Pacific Partnership — and disagrees with Sanders’ plan to make public colleges and universities tuition free.
On foreign policy, the Libertarian hopeful has drawn attention in recent weeks for a pair of face-palm-inducing flubs: appearing to be unfamiliar with Aleppo, the war-torn Syrian city; and not being able to name a single foreign leader he admires.
But Sanders wouldn’t say such gaffes should disqualify Johnson’s candidacy.
“You know, that wasn’t the most impressive interview I have ever heard,” he said on CNN. “But I think, more importantly than that, people make mistakes doing interviews.”
The Vermont senator — who has endorsed his onetime Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, for president — also refused to criticize Clinton over comments she made about his supporters at a closed-door fundraiser in February.
“Some are new to politics completely. They are children of the great recession, and they are living in their parents’ basement,” Clinton said in a leaked audio tape published by the Washington Free Beacon. “So if you’re feeling that you’re consigned to being a barista or, you know, some other job that doesn’t pay a lot and doesn’t have much of a ladder of opportunity attached to it, then the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could be part of a political revolution is pretty appealing.”
“What she was saying there is absolutely correct,” Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday. “And that is, you’ve got millions of young people, many of whom took out loans in order to go to college, hoping to go out and get decent-paying, good jobs. They’re unable to do that. And yes, they do want a political revolution. They want to transform this society. They want to make sure that when they get out of school, they can get a job that pays them wages and salaries commensurate with the education they have. I think that’s a very important point. And that is an issue that, as a nation, we have got to address.”
And for those Sanders supporters who might find Clinton’s comments about them condescending, he has a message for them, too.
“Take a hard look, not at Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump,” he said. “Take a hard look at the needs of the American people. “And issue by issue, whether it is climate change, whether it is Citizens United, the need to overturn that, whether it is pay equity for women, whether it is raising the minimum wage to a living wage, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, a tax system that says to Trump and his friends they are going start paying their fair share of taxes, look at Clinton’s positions, look at Trump’s positions, understand that one or the other of those two will be the next president of the United States. And after you take a hard look at those two candidates and their issues, I think the conclusion that the vast majority of people will reach is that Clinton is far and away the superior candidate.”