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Bernie Sanders And Cardi B Talk Politics, Racism And Jobs In Detroit

By Malachi Barrett

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Cardi B sat down for a one on one interview with Sanders after the democratic debate in Detroit last month. The rap superstar who has a massive social media audience says she’s working to advocate for youth in her community and educate young voters.

Bernie Sanders and Cardi B walk into a nail bar.

There’s no punchline coming. The Democratic primary contender and award-winning rapper met at an African American women-owned nail salon in Detroit for a wide-ranging conversation about social justice, Medicare for All and other themes of Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign.

“Cardi B’s nails are juuuust a little different than mine. Our views on the issues are pretty similar," Sanders joked on Twitter after his campaign released a video of the conversation Thursday.

The Bronx musician met with Sanders at The TEN Nail Bar the week of the second Democratic National Committee debate in Detroit at the end of July. Cardi B and Sanders have been mutual admirers with a history of praising each other on Twitter but hadn’t met until the conversation last month.

Cardi B has said her favorite president is Franklin D. Roosevelt due to his creation of social programs and effort to pull the country out of the Great Depression and fight WWII. Sanders shares an affinity with FDR, injecting his democratic socialism agenda with callbacks to FDR and New Deal politics.

“I want to be your favorite after I’m elected,” Sanders said. “But we’ll see.”

Cardi B said she’s working to advocate for youth in her community and educate young voters. She solicited questions for Sanders from her massive social media audience.

The discussion started with a shared agreement that President Donald Trump should not be allowed to win a second term next year. Sanders said Trump is an “overt racist" and Cardi B agreed, saying the president’s rhetoric is emboldening other racists to be more public with their views.

Sanders said racism stems from Trump “down to the local police department,” while discussing criminal justice reform and police brutality. The Vermont senator said federal investment is needed to provide minority youth education and job training opportunities.

Ending private prisons, mandatory minimum sentences and reducing the “militarization” of police departments is among Sanders’ campaign promises.

“We constantly see on social media police brutality against black men and against minorities,” Cardi B said. “What are we going to do to change that? Because that is discouraging our people. It makes us feel like we’re worthless."

Sanders said police departments need to reflect the communities they serve, implying diversifying the police force will reduce some violence. He said the U.S. Department of Justice should investigate incidents police killings.

Cardi B noted not all police officers are bad apples.

“There was this one time that i started to feel like ‘I hate the police, they’re pigs.’” Cardi B said. “But there’s a lot of cops that go into their jobs and want to protect their people.”

The pair addressed a common critique that Sanders’ progressive policy ideas -- including providing free college education, eliminating student loan debt -- are too expensive. Cardi B said people are afraid to pay more in taxes to finance those programs.

“A lot of people think it isn’t possible and a lot of people don’t want extreme socialism,” Cardi B said.

Sanders said powerful corporate interests are benefiting from the current system. His Medicare for All proposal would transition Americans to a government-run single-payer system and eliminate the private insurance market.

On the campaign trail, Sanders acknowledged Medicare for All would require a tax, but said people will save more by eliminating other costs under the current system.

“No more premiums, no more co-payments, no more deductibles,” Sanders said. “You go to any doctor you want. You do pay more in taxes depending on your income. The overwhelming majority of people will end up paying less than they’re currently paying in health care.”

Sanders said a modest tax on Wall Street speculation would raise enough money to forgive the student loan debt for everyone.

Imposing a 0.5% tax on stock trades, 0.1% fee on bond trades, and a 0.005% fee on derivative trades will raise $2.4 trillion during the next 10 years, according to the campaign.

The Democratic presidential contender also touted his proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Cardi B offered a personal example of how difficult it is for some people to survive on their wages.

"Like, for example me, as a New Yorker, not now, but you know, when I was not famous, I just felt like no matter how many jobs I get, I wasn't able to make ends meet," she said. "Like, I wasn't able to pay my rent, get transportation and eat."

On immigration, Cardi B recalled a fan who identified himself as a DACA recipient at a concert and said he was being deported to Mexico. Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which allowed people brought illegally to the U.S. as children to remain here on a work permit.

Sanders promised to reestablish the DACA program by executive order within his first week of taking office. He said the program would be expanded to protect the parents of DACA recipients.

“There are 1.8 million young people who have only known the United States as their home,” Sanders said. “This is where they were raised.”

Cardi B asked Sanders if his attacks on powerful corporate interests makes him fearful of retribution.

“Cardi, that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life,” Sanders said while shaking her hand. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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