The Vermont senator returned to the West Coast for rally in Eugene, Oregon, Thursday and debuted new remarks, which were likely a preview of what is to come as he continues on the campaign trail, but faces the reality that his path to nomination has all but closed.
First he lambasted Republicans. “If you take a hard look at the Republican agenda, it is hard to imagine anybody voting for that agenda,” he said. He criticized the GOP for wanting to give tax breaks to millionaires by repealing the estate tax, neglecting the uninsured by pushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and abandoning the elderly for voting to cut Medicare and Social Security. From campaign finance to climate change, Sanders threw fire across the aisle.
“I think we are reaching the day when you are going to have members of Congress with patches on their jackets -- sponsored by the Koch bothers, sponsored by Exxon Mobile,” he said.
“The Democratic Party has to reach a fundamental conclusion: Are we on the side of working people or big money interests?” he said. “Do we stand with the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor or Wall Street speculators and the drug companies and the insurance companies?
“The Democratic Party, up to now, has not been clear about which side they are on, on the major issues facing this country,” he continued. “You cannot be on the side of those workers who have lost their jobs, because of disastrous trade agreements, and support those corporations who have thrown millions of our workers out on the street.”
Beyond pushing specific progressive policy platforms, Sanders brought up more strategic and mechanical issues he believes the party should tackle. He spoke about automatic voter registration, open primaries, and a fifty-state strategy, and accused the party of turning its back on particularly poor states in the South.
“We need to plant a flag of progressive politics in every state of this country,” he concluded, telling the large crowd that its job was to revitalize American democracy.