Ahead Of Illinois Primary, Bernie Sanders Tells WBEZ He’s Targeting Older Democrats | WBEZ
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Ahead Of Illinois Primary, Bernie Sanders Tells WBEZ He’s Targeting Older Democrats

As we get closer to Illinois’ March 15 primary, we’re taking a closer look at the candidates.

WBEZ was at Bill Clinton's campaign event for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders talked with WBEZ’s state politics reporter Tony Arnold on Tuesday. Here are some highlights from that conversation.

On how Sanders' performance with African-Americans voters compares to Hillary Clinton

“We think within the African American community, what is happening is more generational actually than it is racial. The truth is we are doing quite well with younger people whether they are white, black, or they’re Latino. We’re doing very poorly – and I gotta work on this—with older people whether they’re white, black or Latino.”

On whether his campaign’s message is penetrating those communities

“I think it is. I think you look at the polling—we’re behind in the African American community but I think there is no question our numbers are going up. We have a lot of prominent supporters in the African American community who know my record. I think we are gaining on it.”

On whether a Sanders presidency with a Republican-controlled Congress could lead to a government impasse like the one in Illinois

Sanders had two points to make.

First:

“I have throughout my political career worked with Republicans when there are common grounds. For example, I worked with John McCain to pass the most comprehensive veteran’s legislation for veteran’s health care that had been passed in many, many decades.”

And second:

“It’s not so much that Congress is dysfunctional. It is dysfunctional. But the more important point is that Congress is way out of touch with where the American people are. And the only way we rebuild a crumbling middle class in this country, the only way we deal with the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality, the only way we deal with climate change, the only way we deal with a broken criminal justice system is when Congress begins to listen to the American people rather than to their wealthy campaign contributors.”

Listen to the full interview above.

Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him @tonyjarnold.

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