Jane Sanders made several appearances in Utah over the weekend, a sort of prelude to her husband and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie’s rally, set for Monday afternoon at the Utah State Fairpark.
Friday, she spoke with small business owners at Mestizo Coffee House and met with a Black People for Bernie group in West Valley City. On Saturday, she met with members of the LDS community at the Whitmore Library in Cottonwood Heights before heading up a Utah for Bernie rally at the Clubhouse on South Temple.
It was at the Clubhouse where City Weekly briefly spoke one-on-one with the potential First Lady—who, as far as we know, has not done any porny nude photo shoots like the one who currently holds that title.
CW: It’s early in the primaries, so of course you’re getting attacked from centrist Democrats. If Bernie wins the nomination, he’ll be hit hard by Donald Trump, who has already started throwing every derogatory name in the book at him, including Communist. How will he be able to cut through that noise?
JS: What we can do is appeal directly to the people and tell the truth. No matter who runs as a Democrat, they will call him or her a socialist. They did with Obama, with Clinton, with LBJ and FDR. Bernie will explain that those labels are a distraction and that the reason they’re trying to label him is because they cannot argue against his ideas. We’ll tell the American people that this is what he stands for and to forget whatever label—Democrat, Socialist, Republican, Capitalist. We’ll say this is what he is going to do as president, what do you think of that? We already have socialism here, and as Martin Luther King said, it's socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor. We have corporate socialism, where Donald Trump got $800 million in subsidies to build luxury housing.
And socialism for Amazon, not paying a dime in taxes.
Exactly. And the fossil fuel industry subsidies we give so they can destroy our planet. Bernie wants instead to take that money from them and put it into education, healthcare and housing.
A bit of a personal question: I've been a journalist for a long time, but my field has been hit hard with corporate takeovers and layoffs going back a couple decades, and it’s getting worse. I've been laid off four times since 2005, and currently I have no health insurance because I can't afford $450 a month for a private plan. Would Bernie’s Medicare for All idea eliminate that concern?
Yes. Your employment status should not be tied to your health. We are the only developed country in the world where that’s the case. Anybody who loses their job, gets laid off, gets fired, they lose their coverage. Or if a person who is married to somebody who has the insurance and the relationship ends, they can’t leave because they're leaving not only their husband or wife, they're leaving their insurance. It's a crazy system. What he wants is a single-payer system that will cover everybody, as every other industrialized nation does.
A Yale epidemiologist study just said that Medicare for All will save $450 billion a year in healthcare costs and 68,000 lives over what we have now. Other Democrats keep saying, ‘Oh, it's too much money, we can't do that.’ But what they're really saying is, ‘Sorry, the population will have to continue to pay $12,000 a year on healthcare for a family of four.’ You're leaving the burden on the backs of the people, and that's not right. The expense adds to stress and discourages people from seeking health care when they’re sick.
Yet we can always find money for war, but we can't find money for health care or infrastructure.
Exactly. The only time that question comes up is when we're talking about doing something for the people of America. If we're talking about having a war or giving a subsidy to a big corporation, then it's fine—nobody asks that question.
Would you be an activist First Lady?
I’d be going out and meeting with people, that’s for sure. I would emulate my personal role model, Eleanor Roosevelt, who made sure that voices which usually were not heard would be made central to decision-making in the White House.
You mentioned FDR. Would Bernie earn larger support if he more closely tied his campaign with Roosevelt’s progressive successes, like the New Deal and the Public Works Administration?
Absolutely. Roosevelt loved the arts, and he encouraged community and small businesses, so yes, FDR would be the model who he would look to as well.
Yet if Roosevelt were president today, you get the feeling that none of his programs would make any traction. Granted, there isn’t a World War or a Great Depression happening, but wouldn’t Fox News just spin those ideas into the ground until they’re buried? Truth has become so tainted that it’s hard to know what to believe, especially if someone isn’t media-literate.
That’s one of the reasons we like to talk to independent and local media, because the people reporting the news in mass media are the ones we’ll be asking to pay more in taxes, and they're owned by corporations which have their own interests. In a democracy, we require a very healthy and informed fourth estate, and I don't believe we have that now. We have a lot of gossip.
Not just corporate media, but internet trolls and a president who lies every hour of every single day.
I know, and I think that's why we're always saying this a movement. We need everybody's voice out there, we need to be talking to other people. I think your suggestion about FDR is exactly right on and more people need to hear that. We do see great writers and journalists and even speakers on some of the talk shows mention America’s progressive history, but it's few and far between. The noise is loud, but telling the truth starts in the community.