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Sanders explains democratic socialism to voters - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Sanders explains democratic socialism to voters

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Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders
Eric Davis Eric Davis
WASHINGTON -

While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked foreign policy, her Democratic rival Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had a big speech of his own Thursday.

Sanders took time to explain his brand of democratic socialism to voters. 

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama was called a socialist by opponents attacking him. Sanders has embraced the term for decades.

In defense of his ideology, his beliefs, his platforms, Sanders delivered what he billed a "major speech" Thursday, a defense of the term democratic socialism. 

"What democratic socialism means to me. It builds on what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he fought for guaranteed economic rights for all Americans," said Sanders.

It's a rare attempt by Sanders to explain the foundation on which he's built a career spanning decades championing nontraditional liberalism. 

"I don't believe the government should take over the grocery store down the street," said Sanders. "I believe in private companies that thrive and invest and grow in America."

Political scientist Eric Davis believes Sanders missed an opportunity to turn Democratic voters onto his brand of liberal values. Davis even took issue with the location for the speech, Georgetown University, saying Sanders could have built his base by speaking to an older audience. 

"Democratic socialism means that in the year 2015, a college degree is equivalent to what a high school degree was 50 years ago," said Sanders.

Davis admitted it's too early to tell if the speech will alter the many polls showing Hillary Clinton's lead expanding nationally.

By aligning his ideas with those of FDR and MLK, Sanders hopes he can convince voters that supporting a socialist isn't as radical as some republicans say.

Sanders advocated for expanding NATO to fight ISIS calling on the United States to expand its coalition to include Russia and members of the Arab League as well. 

Click here to read Sanders' full speech.

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