What Bernie Sanders' New Stump Speech Says About His Campaign

Sanders returned to the West Coast for a rally in Oregon.

ByMARYALICE PARKS
April 29, 2016, 10:17 AM

— -- Bernie Sanders hit the campaign trail with renewed vigor yesterday -- and a new speech.

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.

In the last few weeks, Sanders’ has vowed to do two things: Campaign against any Republican candidate, and try to amass as many delegates as possible to carry his message to the Democratic convention in July and influence the party’s platform. Speaking to a large crowd of over 8,000 people minutes from the University of Oregon’s campus, Sanders zeroed in on these two goals, offering sharp critiques of both parties.

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.

Then, Sanders turned his aggression on the Democratic Party itself, a party he has only officially called himself a member of for the purposes of this campaign. He blamed low voter turnout across the country on ambiguous platforms from Democrats.

“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.

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