Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSixty percent of young Latinos support Biden: poll Fact checking the fact checkers: Trump does indeed plan to destroy Social Security Meet the first people to vote in the 2020 presidential election MORE (I-Vt.) is pushing Joe BidenJoe BidenPhotographer breaches Biden’s security perimeter Nonprofit 9/11 Day bashes Trump for airing political ads on Sept. 11 anniversary Hillicon Valley: Dems seek to expand DHS probe after whistleblower complaint | DHS rejects House subpoena for Wolf to testify | Facebook rolls out new features for college students MORE’s presidential campaign to expand its appeal to liberal voters and boost its focus on kitchen table issues in the final sprint to Election Day.
Sanders, a progressive leader and former 2020 presidential candidate, has been advocating for Biden to put a greater emphasis on issues like workers’ wages and health care coverage, a former campaign aide says.
The Vermont senator “is working as hard as he can to help Joe Biden win the most important election in modern American history” but has said there are areas where he thinks the former vice president’s campaign can “continue to improve upon,” Faiz Shakir, the senator’s former campaign manager, said in a statement.
The statement was first reported by The Washington Post and later shared with The Hill.
“He has been in direct contact with the Biden team and has urged them to put more emphasis on how they will raise wages, create millions of good paying jobs, lower the cost of prescription drugs and expand health care coverage,” Shakir said.
“He also thinks that a stronger outreach to young people, the Latino community and the progressive movement will be of real help to the campaign,” Shakir said.
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
Sanders first galvanized progressives in the 2016 cycle when he launched a long-shot Democratic primary bid against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNonprofit 9/11 Day bashes Trump for airing political ads on Sept. 11 anniversary The Memo: Trump needs more than his base Predominantly white schools more likely to start in-person classes than mostly Black, Latino schools: analysis MORE, the party’s eventual nominee that year against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate panel seeks documents in probe of DHS whistleblower complaint Susan Collins: Trump ‘should have been straightforward’ on COVID-19 Longtime House parliamentarian to step down MORE.
The independent Vermont senator kept up momentum among the party’s progressive flank by jumping into the 2020 primaries, winning early victories before ultimately losing ground to Biden.
Sanders suspended his bid in April and has since worked to simultaneously boost Biden – campaigning for him and offering a plea at the Democratic National Convention for his supporters to rally around the former vice president – while also pushing progressive priorities like “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal.
The effort to get Biden to focus more on issues advocated by the party’s left flank, which helped propel the senator’s two White House bids, is somewhat unusual given that nominees generally modulate their rhetoric in the campaign’s final stretch in an effort to appeal to more moderate voters in the general election.
The push underscores concerns among some skeptical liberals that the former vice president is not sufficiently appealing to party’s more progressive members who may not have yet come around to the former vice president’s more centrist brand of politics.
The Post, citing three people familiar with the conversations, reported Saturday that Sanders has told associates that Biden could risk falling short in November if he continues with a more centrist approach.
Sanders and Biden are known to have a good personal relationship, helping them avoid the acrimony that characterized the months after the 2016 primary season.
Biden has also already offered olive branches to progressives by crafting working groups to unite moderates and liberals, allowing them to hammer out proposals on issues like climate change and health care, which have produced policies that have include progressive tenets.
Beyond policies, people familiar with the conversations between Sanders and Biden told The Post that Sanders is also concerned that the former vice president has not embraced some high-profile personalities in the progressive movement, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSixty percent of young Latinos support Biden: poll Woodward: Trump insulted Obama’s intelligence, called him ‘overrated’ Rocky Mountain truce won’t end fight for regulatory supremacy MORE (D-N.Y.).
But Biden has remained determined to push back on claims from Trump that he’s embraced radical “far-left” policies, distancing himself from calls to defund the police, implement a single-payer health plan and ban fracking. And polls have suggested that voters do not see Biden as a staunch progressive, indicating his moderate reputation remains intact.
“Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters?” Biden said in a speech last month in response to Trump’s claims’ he’d exacerbate national protests over systemic racism. “I want a safe America – safe from COVID, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence, safe from bad cops.”
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