Vermont Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is energizing a grassroots movement to end government corruption and to empower America’s working class. Delivering speeches to rallies numbering in the thousands, no presidential candidate thus far has received the same robust enthusiasm for their campaign.
As the October debate approaches, Sanders’ fervent and active platform is reciprocating strong primary support from first New Hampshire and now Iowa, according to recent CNN polling.
Gaining further momentum, Sanders is voicing his agenda with confidence, criticizing the oligarchic establishment that has plagued the economy and the special-interest groups which have resulted from such a perverse concentration of wealth.
Sanders is currently the longest tenured independent representative in American history. He chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and serves on the Environment and Public Works and the Energy and Natural Resources Committees.
In the latter, he has championed the efforts for sustainable energy and a comprehensive program to rebuild America’s infrastructure, claiming such action would create nearly 10 million jobs as indicated on his campaign website. Rebuilding America’s infrastructure is one of many policy initiatives Sanders has set forth that emphasizes public investment.
Other initiatives include offsetting the concentration of wealth possessed by the few and redistributing it through programs that accentuate growth for the middle class.
Sanders has scrutinized income inequality for much of his career and has popularly asserted “the top one tenth of one percent should not own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.” He is determined to provide abundant opportunity to young Americans who suffer an unemployment rate of roughly 33 percent for white high school graduates and 50 percent for African-American high school graduates, according to economist and professor Joseph Stiglitz.
One way he would address young unemployment is by providing free-tuition to public universities. Another cornerstone of Sanders’ agenda is his ardent commitment to implementing a single-payer, Medicare-for-all healthcare system, ensuring that every American has a right to health coverage. In accordance to his fight against income inequality, Sanders proposes a financial transactions tax and a higher capital gains tax to offset the greed and reckless behavior of Wall Street executives; decisions of whom sent the American economy into a tailspin in 2007.
Encompassing his plea to overthrow the billionaire class and their ability to buy politicians, Sanders proclaims, “billionaires already own much of our economy – apparently that is not enough – now, they want to own the United States government as well.”
The foregoing narrative of Sanders’ campaign is one of populism. People are angry with the realization that the game is rigged and rampant inequality – whether it’s racial, gender or income based – is really diminishing the prospect of the American dream.
People are upset that the obscenely rich are excused from paying taxes while the less fortunate are not, and this sentiment is what Sanders’ campaign is tapping into. Students are tired of paying off excessive loans and like Sanders, are shouting “enough is enough.” It’s adventitious that Sanders has just surpassed Hillary Clinton in Iowa because similar to the unexpected assent of Barack Obama in 2008, Sanders may be the unknown, but he has got all the momentum.
Editor’s Note: Information from Joseph Stiglitz, The New York Times, Pew Research Center and Sanders’ website was used in this report.