By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 25, 2015
On Friday, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont spoke before the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., calling the United States an oligarchy and reasserting his call for a “political revolution.”
Sanders said that “In the last election, last November, 63 percent of the American people didn’t vote, 80 percent of young people didn’t vote, and today, millionaires and billionaires are buying the election. Is that what democracy in this country is supposed to be about? I think not…We need a political revolution.”
Sanders said his campaign has already made political history, earning the support of 750,000 donors with an average contribution of $30 each. He said that number of contributions at this point in a campaign sets a new historical record. Sanders said his plan for winning the White House is to “rally millions of working class people who have given up on the political process.”
One day later, Sanders was in Iowa, speaking at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday night. Sanders used the occasion to distance himself from positions taken by Hillary Clinton as a Senator and her husband, Bill Clinton, during his presidency.
Sanders told the huge crowd in Iowa that he is the “only Democratic candidate for President who does not have a super PAC.” Sanders also attacked prior trade deals, like NAFTA, which Bill Clinton signed into law. Sanders said “in the last 14 years, this country has lost 60,000 factories and millions of decent paying jobs. And let me be clear about the current trade deal that we are debating in Congress, the Trans Pacific Partnership. That agreement is not now, nor has it ever been the gold standard of trade agreements. I did not support it yesterday, I do not support it today, and I will not support it tomorrow.”
On the Iraq war, Sanders said corporate media and overwhelming majorities in the House and the Senate were in favor of the war. Sanders said he “listened carefully to what Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld had to say and I said ‘no, they’re not telling the truth.’ And I was right…I came to the fork in the road and I took the right fork even though it was not popular at that time.” Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq war resolution in 2002 as a Senator from New York.
It is well known that Bill Clinton’s administration, including his Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, aggressively pushed for the repeal of the depression era investor protection legislation known as the Glass-Steagall Act. Its repeal is widely blamed for the severity of the financial collapse in 2008 and 2009. Sanders told the crowd: “I voted time and time again to rein in Wall Street. If a bank is too big to fail it’s too big to exist. We need to bring back Glass-Steagall legislation and we need to break up these huge banks…”
Sanders ended his speech by telling the adoring crowd: “I pledge to you that every day I will fight for the public interest, not the corporate interest. I will not abandon any segment of American society.”
Videos of both speeches are linked below.