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Bernie Sanders on what Democrats "have to recognize" before the 2022 midterm elections

Bernie Sanders on midterm elections 
Senator Bernie Sanders on midterm elections, 2024 presidential election 08:55

With just six weeks to go before the midterm elections and in some states, voters are already casting their ballots.  

A recent CBS News Battleground Tracker poll shows Republicans are still very likely to recapture the House, but Democrats do have some momentum — including in the Senate races. 

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders told "CBS Mornings" on Tuesday that Democrats are in a pivotal moment weeks before the election to connect with working-class Americans. 

"I think what Democrats have to recognize is that right now we are living in a society where the people on top, the billionaire class, is doing phenomenally well and working people are falling further and further behind. We need an agenda that speaks to the needs of working people," Sanders said. 

One of the key issues that Sanders believes Democrats need to focus on is healthcare. In May, Sanders and more than a dozen other senators introduced a plan that would provide federally administered Medicare for All. Sanders said Democrats have to stand up for Americans when it comes to healthcare.  

"We have got to end the absurdity of being the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people. Healthcare is a human right. We pay twice as much in capital to health care because insurance companies make zillions of dollars every single year," he said. "Want to know what we should do? We should have the guts to take on the pharmaceutical industry, charges us 10 times more for particular drugs than the people in any other country." 

The independent senator said that Democrats should also look into raising the minimum wage, making public colleges free, and expanding social security for seniors. 

"Every one of these ideas is enormously popular because we are going to pay for it by telling the billionaire class, who in so cases pay nothing in federal taxes, they're going to have to start paying their fair share," Sanders said. 

In order for these ideas to pass, Democrats need to have the majority in the House and Senate — which they don't have at the moment. 

Sanders, who has run twice to become the Democratic presidential nominee, said he isn't focused on the upcoming 2024 presidential election. He also said that it is up to President Joe Biden to decide whether he would run for re-election.  

"He's tried to do some very, very good things and he will make that decision himself," the senator said. 

Sanders told "CBS Mornings" his only focus is making sure that working-class people get their voices heard by getting young progressives elected in November. 

"l'll be going around the country dealing with trying to elect young progressive, often young people of color who are prepared to stand up for working-class families and take on big money interests," he said. 

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