Bernie Sanders blasts critics who call his ideas unrealistic: ‘Nothing is radical’
Bernie Sanders addresses supporters at a massive rally on Sunday in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Fresh from a whirlwind weekend in which he met the pope and drew his largest-ever crowd at a rally in Brooklyn, Bernie Sanders hit back against a theme that’s become central to Hillary Clinton’s campaign: He has some great ideas, but when it comes to getting them done, his plans are — as Larry David put it on “Saturday Night Live” — nothing more than “yada, yada, yada.”
On CNN’s “New Day” Monday, one day before New York’s primary, Sanders pointed out that he called for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour from $7.50 more than five years ago.
“Most people thought that was a crazy idea,” the Vermont senator said. “Well, guess what. California, New York, Oregon have done it. Why? Because people stood up and fought.”
Sanders said the same about same-sex marriage.
“Ten years ago, would you have believed that gay marriage would be legal in all 50 states? Probably not,“ he said. “When people stand up and say, ‘We’ve got to end bigotry in America — people have a right to love whomever,’ change takes place.”
At a block party in Washington Heights Sunday, Clinton pushed her pragmatic message.
“It’s easy to diagnose the problem,” the Democratic frontrunner said. “You’ve got to be able to solve the problem.”
The Vermont senator, though, dismissed her criticism, saying his “radical ideas” are anything but.
“I believe everything we’re talking about,” Sanders said. “Nothing is radical. These ideas have existed in other countries. They’ve existed in the United States.”
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His comments come on the eve of the Democratic primary in New York, where polls show Clinton with a comfortable, double-digit lead over Sanders in her adopted home state.
The Brooklyn-born Sanders urged an estimated 28,000 at his rally in Prospect Park Sunday to help him overcome her edge.
“When I was a kid growing up in Flatbush, our parents would take us to Prospect Park,” he said. “But I was never here speaking to 20,000 people. This is a campaign that’s on the move. This is a campaign that one year ago was considered a fringe candidacy — 70 points behind Secretary Clinton. Well they don’t consider us fringe anymore.”
“This is a movement of people who are prepared to think big, not small,” Sanders added. “People who want to elect not just the new president, but to transform America.”