Sanders aims to boosts vulnerable Democrats in U.S. tour
Sanders to hold town halls on Tuesday to talk with Democratic voters
Bernie Sanders will lead a “listening tour” of the United States — his first as a presidential candidate — as the Democratic Party’s most liberal candidate in decades.
The Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist will visit nine states over six days starting with New Hampshire on Friday, stopping in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maine before returning to Washington on Sunday for a rally at the Democratic National Convention.
Sanders’ tour of the country will highlight his push to make Democrats more progressive ahead of the 2020 presidential election, when he would become the nation’s first Jewish president.
In the run-up to the Iowa caucuses this week, the Vermont senator has faced criticism for appearing to advocate for the Democratic Party’s most progressive wing. Many candidates have sought to tamp down talk of socialism in recent weeks in order to avoid accusations of breaking with party rules when they don’t support single-payer health insurance and decriminalizing marijuana.
But in recent weeks, Sanders has shifted from criticizing his opponents for being too far to the left to embracing them, even while he himself remains far to the left on issues like free college.
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“It’s an honor to be on that list,” Sanders told The Associated Press in a statement Tuesday. “It’s an honor to live in the country that we’re living in right now and has been going for 30 years. It’s an honor to be there with that progressive base.”
He added that “everyone’s welcome” in the U.S. and that the tour will be informative and bring hope to people.
The tour is Sanders’ first as a presidential candidate. He has been vocal during his time as Democratic leader, including a recent speech at the Democratic National Convention in which he called for