Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) had a brief but tense moment with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) at Tuesday’s second-round 2020 Democratic debate, which he discussed exclusively with uPolitics.

During the debate, Hickenlooper said he feared a majority of American voters would not “go along” with some of the far-left, progressive policy ideas Sanders has been presenting, like Medicare for All and free public colleges.

“So again, I think if we’re going to force Americans to make these radical changes, they’re not going to go along,” said Hickenlooper, and Sanders then thrust his arms up, seemingly in frustration.

“Throw your hands up!” Hickenlooper added, to which Sanders replied “I will!”

The moment highlighted one of the major broad issues discussed in this week’s second-round debates: should the Democratic Party embrace a socialist agenda for the 2020 election or stay moderate in order to win over more voters, including possibly Republicans?

“I think the divide is between the idealists and Bernie Sanders and [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and the pragmatists,” said Hickenlooper. “Just because you’re a pragmatist, doesn’t mean you don’t try to do big things, it means you figure out how to do them.”


The 67-year-old Colorado Democrat, who in January ended an eight-year tenure as governor of his state, added he became frustrated with Sanders’ lack of “compromise” on healthcare specifically.

“I said, ‘you’re going to end up FedExing this election to Donald Trump!'” Hickenlooper said, referring to Sanders, who he joked seemed to have “created a meme without ever planning to.”

“We can provide universal coverage. We can make sure healthcare is a right and not a privilege,” said Hickenlooper. “We don’t have to go out and tell 180 million Americans that they’re going to lose their private insurance. We’ll let them choose to go into a public option and it will evolve rather than be a revolution.”

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won Colorado with 48.2% of the vote, while Trump earned 43.3% of all votes.


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