June 14 (UPI) — A group of potential Democratic presidential candidates gathered for a summit Wednesday to discuss a spate of issues facing the party in the 2020 election.
More than a thousand people attended the “We the People” summit, which featured five possible candidates — Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
The senators touted the need for universal healthcare and protecting and expanding Social Security and Medicare.
Sanders received multiple standing ovations during his speech, and chants of “Bernie” as he walked on and off stage.
Sanders, who lost the 2016 Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton, told attendees that race changed the conversation inside the Democratic Party.
“Many of the ideas that we talked about were thought to be fringe ideas, radical ideas, extremist ideas,” he said.
Sanders said Democrats have made those efforts, like “Medicare for all,” are now mainstream.
Warren hammered Republicans in her remarks, saying there’s widespread corruption in the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court. She also said Republicans are leaving workers behind and called the GOP’s tax overhaul “evidence of corruption in Congress.”
“We’re going to hose out this cesspool of corruption,” Warren said. “We’re going to make this government work for the people.”
The summit also included a question and answer session, which gave attendees a better picture of Booker, Gillibrand and Harris.
Booker said “healthcare is a right” and spoke about the need for higher wages. He also blasted hedge funds and corporations for “perverse capitalism” practices that favor dividends and executive bonuses over workers.
Gillibrand criticized attacks by President Donald Trump on immigrants and press freedom, called for paid family leave and criticized the government for “rewarding owners and not workers” and said the “soft corruption of Washington” must end.
Harris spoke about stagnant American wages amid skyrocketing costs of gasoline, housing and college tuition. She also noted the country’s “problem with mass incarceration,” and said she supports clean energy, calling it a “false choice” to have to choose between economic growth and climate change.