Exclusive–Mike Braun: Populism the ‘Underdog’ Against the ‘Entrenched’ Establishment

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun speaks at the Indiana Republican Party Fall Dinner in Indianapolis, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Tuesday that populism, especially on the right, continues to serve as the “underdog” against the “entrenched establishment.”

Sen. Braun spoke with Breitbart News in an extensive interview regarding his views on securing the southern border, healthcare, and fighting against the establishment.

Braun ran for the U.S. Senate during the 2018 midterm election as a businessman and an outsider– similar to President Donald Trump– to shake up the Washington, D.C. status quo. During the 2018 midterm cycle, he defeated two Republican congressmen and ousted red-state Democrat former Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN).

Despite his and President Trump’s election to Congress, Braun said he believes that populism continues to fight against the more entrenched establishment forces in Washington, D.C, including many establishment Republicans. Sen. Braun contended that many members have continued to resist necessary changes in health care, government spending, leaving the Democrats to continue beating the GOP on these and other issues.

“I think populism is still very much the underdog here because the establishment is so entrenched,” Braun said.

“I think a lot of folks that give it lip service to it don’t really feel it even on our side,” the Hoosier conservative said.

During Braun’s conservation with Breitbart News, he listed government spending, health care, and income inequality as some areas that Republicans need to prioritize.

In an interview in April, Sen. Braun said that health care will be the defining issue during the 2020 presidential election. During the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats attacked Republicans for allegedly trying to take away protections for pre-existing conditions in the wake of the GOP’s multiple failed attempts to repeal Obamacare.

“I’ve been the one since the beginning that’s said it’s a pivotal issue. Income equality and the healthcare system are why the Democrats are even in the business. If we can fix income inequality which is a populist thing as well,” then that could help the Republican Party.

Since taking office, the Hoosier senator has proposed populist legislation that would shake up the healthcare industry, such as the True Price Act, which would require that health insurers to disclose the negotiated price for each medical service covered by a person’s insurance and any cost-sharing amounts (co-pays or deductibles) that may be charged to the enrollee.

Sen. Braun has said that Republicans have made some progress with health care; however, most action has been “nipping at the flanks” of health care and not solving the underlying issues facing the healthcare industry– which he believes has a lack of transparency and lack of competition in the industry.

The Hoosier senator said, “Health care would be the first thing where if we could figure out how to save the best of what we got the most Republicans have been apologists for the healthcare industry. Everything we’ve been proposing with leadership behind it just nipping at the flanks, it’s not taking it on in a radical way.”

Braun has said that Republicans need to force change onto the health care industry and that the GOP needs to “radically change” the healthcare system because Democrats have a more cohesive vision with Medicare for All.

Sen. Braun’s comments arise as President Donald Trump has promised a dynamic healthcare proposal and that the Republican Party will become the party of health care.

“The Democrats have actually got a better message for their folks, radically change it– Medicare for All,” Braun continued. “I’ve been one that’s said that we need to radically change the system but keep the best of what we got by making it transparent and competitive and all that, most Republicans are not for doing that.”

“They just want to go slow, if we go slowly the Democrats will win again,” he added.

Sen. Braun also chided Republicans for voting with Democrats on Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) Penn Plan budget, which would require that for every on-budget dollar the federal government spends, it spends one penny less for the next five years. The budget would balance the budget within five years.

On June, 25 Republicans voted with Democrats to shoot down Paul’s balanced budget plan.

“Just go and look at the Penny Plan. That is a vote and half of us voted because we really do it the other half voted because they wanted their name on the bill and that was still only 22 votes. If there’s been anything on the floor that tells you what’s wrong with the Senate, it’d the Penny Plan,” Braun said.

Sen. Braun then said that Republicans need to tackle Americans’ student debt, even though lawmakers have been apologists for higher education.

He said, “I think it’s as bad as health care where’s it’s breaking the bank. It needs to be changed radically using technology and all other kinds of things. We all apologize for it Because who’s going to take on colleges?”

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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