Senator Bernie Sanders is being widely praised for his performance at the Fox News Town Hall, which was held smack dab in the middle of “Trump Country,” in the shadow of steel stacks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Few Democrats have braved the arguably hostile halls of Fox News, but Sanders showed up and proved ready to tackle the toughest questions.
Whether or not you approved of his answers comes down to your political beliefs, of course. Sanders was his usual combative self. Instead of offering the usually wishy-washy political speak, Sanders offered direct, blunt responses. When asked if his newfound status as a millionaire changed his stances on wealth, Sanders replied, “We have an absurd tax system, and while millions of people today are paying actually more in taxes than anticipated, Amazon, Netflix, and dozens of major corporations, as a result of Trump’s tax bill, paid nothing in federal taxes. I think that’s a disgrace.”
After the subsequent round of applause, a lot of politicians would have moved on. However, Sanders acknowledged that he did indeed make a lot of money last year, over a half million. He also admitted that he benefited from Trump’s tax bill, but that he voted against it (and thus his own interests) because the benefits were, Sanders alleged, primarily enjoyed by the wealthy.
The Fox News hosts attempted to corner Sanders and paint him in a negative light. Shortly after the question about his status as a millionaire, the hosts tried to accuse Sanders of vilifying the wealthy. Sanders was quick to argue that he wasn’t vilifying the wealthy and successful but that with wealth inequality growing and so many struggling, the wealthy should be expected to pay more.
You’d have to watch the Fox News town hall to see if you agree with Senator Sanders or not. Still, most mainstream media outlets and analysts are painting the appearance as a victory for Sanders. At the very least, the event allowed him to reach out to an audience that he might otherwise struggle to even communicate with.