Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said on Tuesday that the rising suicide rate among middle-aged white Americans can be traced back to the country’s economic issues.
“When I talk about the collapse of the middle-class, that’s what I’m talking about,” he told MSNBC host Chris Hayes, adding, “What it tells you is that there are millions of people in this country, working-class people whose standard of living is going down, they are experiencing very high levels of unemployment. They are in despair. They don’t see anything in front of them in terms of the future that’s going to work for them.
As The Guardian reported, the trend is hitting white men and women between the ages of 45 and 54 who have only obtained a high school degree the hardest, with an 81 percent increase in suicides and a 50 percent increase in deaths caused by cirrhosis and liver disease.
“This is a crisis, and it speaks to what is going on for millions of families in this country — an issue that we have got to address,” the senator said.
However, Hayes pointed out that many voters in that demographic have favored Republican candidates over the years.
“There’s a certain strain of political analysis that says those votes — the same population that is undergoing this crisis — are lost to the Democratic Party,” the host said. “Can you get those votes?”
“Absolutely I can,” Sanders replied.
Watch the interview, as aired on Tuesday, below.