Disabled, divorced, with a degree, working several jobs yet making less than $10,000 a year. Struggling to pay bills. Unable to buy presents for her children. Waiting for her disability to come through. Dependent on her parents. That was the sad story that a woman told Bernie Sanders at an event in Iowa yesterday.
On today's Morning Joe, after airing that clip, a visibly moved Mika Brzezinski challenged the panel as to who between Sanders and Hillary Clinton would "be there" for the woman. Mika didn't answer the question herself, though she has been a Bernie booster.
"Being there" with words or more big-government programs won't help struggling Americans in the long run. Socialist societies from the Soviet Union to Cuba have supposedly "been there" for its citizens, but brought them misery. Capitalism has been history's greatest engine to lift people out of poverty. But for millions of voters like Mika, who lead with their emotions, that doesn't matter. The challenge for conservatives is to make the case that their philosophy and policies are what will "be there" in the way that really counts for all Americans.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: At an event in Iowa, Bernie Sanders turned to a staple of his stump speech that millions of people in America don't get enough money to survive on Social Security. He asked the audience for their stories about the struggles of living off of about $10,000 a year, including this one.
WOMAN: I've been living on probably less than that for a long time because of disabilities. And it's so hard to do anything to pay -- pay your bills. You're ashamed all the time. And I can completely understand how she feels. And when you can't buy presents for your children, it's -- it's really, really, really hard. And I worked. I worked three, four, five jobs sometimes, always minimum wage. I have a degree. Divorced and it's just -- I'm waiting for disability to come through, so my parents have to support me. It is just hard.
BERNIE SANDERS: It is not easy for people to stand up and say that. But the truth is that until millions of people who are experiencing exactly what you guys are experiencing do say that, we don't make change.
MIKA: So the question -- and when you listen to that woman speak, is you wonder who is going to be there for her? Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. What's the answer to that question? Around the table.
MATT LEWIS: Bill Clinton would have knocked that one out of the ballpark.
MIKA: Well, who would actually, actually with policy and fighting in Washington and actual execution, who would be there for her?
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, I think that's the question -- I think that's the question. I think that's the question that Democratic voters will have to figure out.