Bernie renews call for 'political revolution'
Sen. Sanders brings 2020 presidential campaign ‘Announcement Tour’ to Chicago
By Ted Cox
CHICAGO — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders renewed his call for a populist, progressive political revolution Sunday in a campaign rally at Chicago’s Navy Pier.
Making the point persistently that his policies, once considered radical, were being accepted and embraced by a majority of the American people, Sanders called on his supporters to “complete the political revolution we started three years ago,” when he narrowly lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton, who went on to lose to President Trump.
In the second stop of what’s being called his “Announcement Tour,” after declaring himself a candidate for president next year and speaking in New York City on Saturday, the Vermont U.S. senator repeated his charge that Trump is “the most dangerous president in modern American history.”
He told a packed house of thousands of his “brothers and sisters” standing in Festival Hall at the state’s top tourist destination that they wouldn’t stop at capturing the Democratic presidential nomination this time around. “We’re not only going to defeat Trump,” he added, “we’re going to transform the United States of America.”
When the crowd chanted, “Bernie!” Sanders responded, “No, no, no. It’s you, it must be you. The whole point of a political revolution is nobody can do it alone.”
But he was scathing in his attack on Trump and the corporate greed he charged had led to an unsustainable income inequality.
“The underlying principals of our governing will not be greed, kleptocracy, hatred, authoritarianism, and pathological lying,” he said. “The principals of our government will not be racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and religious bigotry.
“All of that is going to end,” Sanders added. “The principals of our government will be based on justice — on economic justice, on social justice, on racial justice, and environmental justice.”
He went through a list of progressive dream programs, starting with a “Medicare-for-all single-payer program” for health care, insisting, “Health care is a human right, not a privilege.” Sanders added that “the greed of the drug companies is going to end” and pledged he’d bring drug prices down.
He pushed for a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, like the one just passed in Illinois, calling out Walmart and fast-food chains to “stop paying your workers starvation wages.”
Sanders added, “We’re going to make it easier for workers to join unions, not harder,” with union support again being something a majority of Americans recently said they supported.
“The United States of America must never be a country that snatches young babies from the arms of their mothers.”
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (One Illinois/Ted Cox)
He called on the president to stop “demonizing” aspiring immigrants, adding with venom that “the United States of America must never be a country that snatches young babies from the arms of their mothers,” as the Trump administration has.
Charging that American politics has become “a corrupt political system in which billionaires buy elections,” Sanders said, “We will no longer tolerate their insatiable greed,” adding that he’d close corporate tax loopholes.
“We are going to end austerity for working families and bring some austerity to corporate America,” he said.
Charging that corporate greed had brought on income inequality in which three families own more wealth than the bottom half of the U.S. population put together, he called for a federal jobs guarantee and affordable housing, while pledging he’d “end the epidemic of gun violence in Chicago and in this country.”
Promising “real criminal-justice reform,” he said he’d divert $80 billion spent on prisons and jails to jobs and education, to “create a nation in which all people are treated equally.”
He also said he’d “end the decline in rural America,” by reopening closed hospitals and bringing in jobs that would allow country residents to remain in the small towns they grew up in.
Sanders cited his Chicago roots based in the early ‘60s when he was student at the University of Chicago, fighting racial bias and segregation and at one point getting arrested at a sit-in.
“I learned a lot more off campus than in my classrooms,” Sanders said, quickly adding, “That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to your classes.”
Sanders insisted the United States is not a collection of “red” Republican states and “blue” Democratic states, but a nation in which workers in every state are calling out for a better, fairer economic deal.
He said corporate interests would not surrender their advantages easily, but added, “They may have an unlimited amount of money, but we have something they don’t have and never will have, and that’s a united people.”