Although his opponents seek to paint him as too far left, Bernie Sanders’ views are mainstream. At Wednesday’s Washington Post-Univision debate in Miami, for example, Hillary Clinton argued that Sanders’ ideas are not realistic and too expensive. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Clinton said. In fact, the ideas that Sanders has injected into the campaign are hardly radical. Sanders is in sync with the majority of Americans on most key issues.
Here’s a brief run-down:
- About three-quarters (74 percent) of Americans — including 84 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of independents, and 62 percent of Republicans — believe that corporations have too much influence on American life and politics today, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. In contrast, only 37 percent think that labor unions exercise too much influence.
- The Pew Research Center discovered that 60 percent of Americans — including 75 percent of Democrats — believed that “the economic system in this country unfairly favors the wealthy.”
- Fifty-eight percent of Americans said they would support breaking up “big banks like Citigroup,” a key plank of Sanders’ platform and the goal of a bill that Sanders sponsored in the Senate.
- Seventy-three percent of Americans favor tougher rules for Wall Street financial companies, versus 17 percent who oppose stronger regulation. ..
- More than three-quarters of Americans (79 percent) think that wealthy people don’t pay their fair share of taxes, while 82 percent believe that some corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes.
- Sixty-eight percent of Americans favor raising taxes on people earning more than1 million per year, including 87 percent of Democrats, 65 percent of independents, and 53 percent of Republicans.
Inequality and Poverty
- A strong majority (66 percent) say that wealth should be more evenly divided and that it is a problem that should be addressed urgently …
Money in Politics
- Eighty-four percent of Americans think that money has too much influence in politics. Slightly more Americans (85 percent) want an overhaul of our campaign finance system
- Seventy-eight percent of Americans think that campaign spending by outside groups not affiliated with candidates should be limited by law.
- A majority of Americans (54 percent) believe that money given to political candidates is not a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment. In other words, they disagree with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.
(Read the rest here.)
Peter Dreier is the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His most recent book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame.