Bernie Sanders rallied in Kentucky this last weekend, and he had some strong words for Mitch McConnell. Specifically, he railed against the Senate Majority Leader for failing to bring key elements of the Democratic Party’s agenda to a vote. And more generally for his long-standing support of the billionaire class and their material interests.
Mitch McConnell recently stated, “I am indeed the grim reaper when it comes to the socialist agenda.” Which he clarified, consists of “the Green New Deal, and Medicare for All.” But there is far more legislation than just those planks of the budding leftist movement that Mitch McConnell refuses to bring to a vote. Gun control measures calling for expanded background checks, a $15 an hour minimum wage bill, and legislation to strengthen American election systems all remain on Mitch McConnell’s desk.
Bernie didn’t just focus on these specific instances of McConnell’s obstructionism his critique was far more general. “Stop your cowardice, stop worrying about your billionaire friends, they’re doing just fine. Start worrying about the working families in your state, and around the country who are struggling to keep their heads above water,” Bernie said from a stage in Louisville.
Bernie also called Mitch McConnell out for his strong support of Citizens United. McConnell has defended the decision many times, specifically saying, “it was a good and fair decision aimed at leveling the playing field.” McConnell has long made a career of torpedoing campaign finance reform measures, most famously when he went up against John McCain on behalf of the tobacco industry. On Bernie’s end, his position is the same as it has been since Citizens United passed, and he called for a reversal of the decision by the Supreme Court.
Finally Bernie Sanders connected the dots. Asking, “why does Senator McConell do what he does? Why does he oppose virtually every piece of legislation that helps working families, while supporting legislation that gives huge tax breaks to billionaires? The answer is not complicated, follow the money.” He went on to name exactly where McConnell gets his money. “Over the course of his long career Senator McConnell has received huge amounts in campaign contributions from Wall Street companies, the healthcare industry, the fossil fuel industry, and of course the NRA.”
In Bernie’s mind, these campaign contributions are the exact reason he plays “grim reaper” for “the socialist agenda.” He’s paid to oppose Medicare for All, he’s paid to oppose a Green New Deal, he’s paid to block gun control legislation, and while it’s not direct quid pro quo, it’s based in a campaign finance system that allows people like Senator McConell to do what they do with impunity. To which Bernie had to say, “we’re going to say to Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and the entire corporate elite that control the economic and political life of this country, their day has come, and it has gone.”