Days away from his appearance in the second wave of the 2020 Democratic presidential debates, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) campaigned in Iowa on Sunday, July 27. Making several trips throughout the day to roll out his healthcare plan, the day ended at the Coffeesmith in Waukee to speak directly in a Q&A with potential voters.
Bennett is currently under one percent in the latest polls and was on the debate stage Tuesday, July 30 in Detroit hosted by CNN.
Returning power to citizens
Bennet made mention to two former presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Teddy Roosevelt. Of the former, he discussed in the same ideas expressed by Bernie Sanders’ ideas as a democratic socialist. Of the elder Roosevelt, he said he believes the country is “long overdue for a progressive era” that he ushered in at the turn of the century.
He added that “there’s a lot in our political system that needs to be changed,” starting with gerrymandering laws.
“Voters get to pick their representatives, not the other way around,” Bennet advocated. “And overturning Citizen United as well or at least require disclosure of all the expenditures in our healthcare system.”
Bennet said he’d aim to help push those items forward as president but feels that it’s impossible under current circumstances with “something as simple as a bill that would stop obstruction of our elections” being blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Fact Check - Blocking election bill
Mostly true. Bennet did not clarify which bill he referenced about obstructing elections but could be pointing to the “For the People Act” blocked in March to limit re-districting or the election security bill McConnell blocked on July 25 on grounds of partisan bias.
Tearing down labels in government for unity
Faced with a field of democratic opponents that run across the political spectrum, Bennet said he doesn’t understand the flirtation with new forms of government for better or worse.
“I don’t know why on either side of this crazy political equation we’re in that all of a sudden, we have to transport some system in here from Denmark or in the case of (President) Trump, some right win government,” Bennet remarked. “I understand that we have American democracy. That’s our job. Our job has always been to make it more democratic.”
He added that while “we haven’t always been perfect,” each generation has followed the lead to progress through democracy, citing the abolition and suffrage movements in particular.
“We’ve been here before,” the senator said. “We shouldn’t expect the work not to be hard.”
Fact Check - Adopting Danish government
Mostly true. Sanders and a number of Democrats have been highly complimentary of not only Denmark’s political structure but Sweden and Norway as well.
Changing American foreign policy
During a discussion about the world’s view of the country under President Donald Trump, Bennet was quick to criticize the current administration. He said he believes Trump “is a weak leader in many aspects” in regards to his foreign policy, and that he’d prefer a change in the office.
“I very much hope we elect a Democrat and I very much want to be that person but I believe virtually any Republican president or democratic president would basically do the opposite of what Donald Trump has done,” Bennet said.
Bennet was specifically interested in what can be done to help the political climate in Europe.
“My first trip would be to go to Europe and give our allies reassurance that we’re now back to our 70 year history rather than the two years of insanity that Trump has engaged,” Bennet said.
On the topic of Europe, Bennet said he was concerned with the rise of right-wing agendas and the role that Russia may be playing on world stage, something he’d like the president to address outright. However, he was not entirely critical of President Trump.
“He was right to call out China in terms of the country’s trading practices when it comes to intellectual property,” Bennet said. “When it comes to having state-sponsored enterprised and benefits from all that kind of stuff.”