In remarks made on local conservative talk radio last week, Colorado’s Republican Sen. Cory Gardner said he thinks “the most dangerous thing to come out of the 2016 election” was the “normalization of socialism by Bernie Sanders.”
Here’s Gardner’s full quote from Thursday’s Ross Kaminsky Show on KHOW radio with guest host Krista Kafer:
GARDNER: “Well, look, I mean, you’ve got an incredible thing happening in Venezuela right now, where the United States recognized the sort of opposition leader in Venezuela, trying to take down Maduro. And remember what President Trump had said to the United Nations over a year ago: he said Venezuela isn’t a failed example of socialism, it is an example of what socialism does to a country. And I think the most dangerous thing to come out of the 2016 election was this normalization of socialism by Bernie Sanders. And that’s what we ought to be focusing on as well, here: defeating those who want to espouse and bring socialism here to the people of the United States, people who are talking about 80% tax increases, people who say they’d rather be – something like – morally correct than factually right – or something like that. [chuckles] I mean, this is
talkof a radical left that I don’t think represents the people of Colorado or this country.”
It’s a bold statement considering the tumult that followed the 2016 election.
For example, there’s the news that a hostile foreign power attempted to interfere in our elections, the nation’s growing partisan divide, and the rising tide of white nationalism that led to a deadly rally in Charlottesville, to name a few.
But bashing Democratic Socialism is in vogue for the GOP amid the rise in popularity of politicians like Sanders and New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who’s dominated headlines on conservative media platforms lately.
Gardner’s office did not return a call seeking to know if the senator thinks Russian meddling or Trump or anything else is actually more dangerous than the normalization of socialism.
Gardner also bashed the increasingly popular Democratic “Medicare for all” healthcare policy, condemning it as an example of “why socialism is so dangerous.”
GARDNER: “…going back to what you said earlier, too, just about Medicare – Medicaid For All. I have talked to hospitals. If we go to a single payer system like this, they will cut services. I was just in Grand Junction, talking to their hospitals. They will lose services and healthcare programs if they move to this kind of a program – Medicaid — Medicare For All, I mean. They just – they can’t make it work. And that’s why socialism is so dangerous, is it hurts the very people that they’re saying they’re trying to help.”
Like much of the GOP, Gardner has struggled when it comes pushing a clear health care policy, shunning Democratic proposals while failing to put forth one of his own. He’s been harshly criticized for repeatedly attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act without having a system to take its place.
Polling has consistently shown widespread support for a Medicare for all-type policy. A Reuters-Ipsos poll from October showed 70 percent support for the policy nationwide, including 52 percent support from Republican voters.
Although a bit jarring, Gardner’s assertion about the dangers of socialism following the 2016 election isn’t new. In fact, his comments on the radio last week appear to be recycled directly from his speech at the 2018 Western Conservative Summit in Denver:
GARDNER: “The most dangerous thing to happen in America in the 2016 Presidential election was Bernie Sanders normalization of socialism. Bernie normalized socialism for a broad set of the electorate, mainly young voters.”