Speaking at a town-hall style meeting on FOX News, 2020 Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders (D- Vermont) expressed interest in “taxing Joe Biden’s popularity and redistributing it evenly among the other candidates.”
Sanders spoke with moderators Brett Baier and Martha MacCallum on a variety of subjects including socialism, his tax plan and his Medicare-For-All plan before the discussion turned to one of his favorite subjects (campaign finance reform) and one of his least favorite (Joe Biden’s surging popularity).
“There has to be a way, I’m thinking, to redistribute some of what Biden has right now,” said a frazzled Sanders, who entered the night trailing Biden by an average of nearly 10 points in early polling among Democratic candidates.
Sanders laid out his ideas on redistributing Biden’s popularity to Baier and MacCallum in front of the Pennsylvania crowd.
“I’m thinking money is the key to promotion. So, I think that we could approach Joe’s popularity from a campaign finance perspective. After all, we’re all Democrats, progressives. Let’s say we set up a donation sharing plan, very similar to a profit-sharing deal, where any private donation over — let’s say $30 — could be taxed and redistributed to the other candidates to keep the playing field fair so we all can be heard equally, with our voice only rising or falling based in total donations, not donation amounts.”
Bret Baier queried the Senator about the $30 threshold.
“Senator, didn’t your campaign set donations records in 2015 and 2016 with a requested donation under $30? Isn’t that what you ask of supporters, $27?”
“Well, that was then, this is now. Because of inflation I believe we’ve been asking for $28.32 this time around, just to remain competitive,” Sanders explained.
“But yes, that amount is still under $30. We remain a very grass roots campaign. But I assure you, the $28.32 figure has nothing to do with my reasoning behind the $30 threshold, even as I might stand to benefit more than one of these candidates who courts the super-rich, the corporations and the entire ilk of big-money donors and all the expectations that come with big money donations,” the Senator argued. “There’s just no correlation between the two.”
Sanders was willing to go on record as believing that donations over $30 should be taxed as a luxury with a rate “in the neighborhood of 90%, depending on the number of candidates active in the race.”
In another scenario, Sanders imagined the race without frontrunner Biden as a participant, citing moral questions.
“Obviously nobody who’s anybody is going tell Joe ‘you can’t run’, the Democrats are already busy telling me that,” the Senator laughed. “But, on a deeply personal level, Joe should really be groping — or should I say grappling — with the effect that his success would have on women and young children on the heels of a Trump term. I don’t have the same baggage that comes with a Joe Biden,” said Sanders, giving himself a pat on the back for for what he called a “mostly squeaky-clean background”.
“Without Joe in the race, his popularity inevitably falls to either me or whomever the Democrats choose to back, be that Beto O’Rourke or Kamala Harris or whomever. That’s top-down redistribution. I can get behind that,” Sanders quipped.
The Fox News Town Hall with Bernie Sander can be viewed here.