Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said this week that, if elected, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will be the most progressive leader since the father of the New Deal.
Sanders said during an appearance on MSNBC that, though he was far to the left of Biden during his campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, he believes the “compromises” he’s found with the former vice president will render him an incredibly progressive president on issues like “education and climate change and health care and the economy and criminal justice and immigration reform.”
“There was a serious discussion and, I think, a real honest effort to come up with a compromise,” Sanders said. “I think the compromise they came up with, if implemented, will make Biden the most progressive president since FDR.”
Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt was, of course, responsible for the passage of the New Deal, a series of sweeping government programs many have said only served to prolong the country’s economic depression.
In 1939, after nearly two full terms of the Roosevelt administration, unemployment had not dropped, but had ticked up to 17.2%. In May of that year, Henry Morgenthau, who served as treasury secretary under Roosevelt, confirmed the failure of the New Deal, saying, “We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. … I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started … and an enormous debt to boot.”
Sanders, who has now campaigned for president twice and fallen short of receiving the Democratic nomination, defines himself as a “Democratic socialist.”
In 2016, much to the chagrin of his supporters, Sanders ultimately endorsed his rival, Hillary Clinton. So when he backed Biden earlier this year, the Vermont senator also announced he’d be joining a series of “task forces” in the Biden campaign to ensure far-left, progressive ideas would be heard.