Photo courtesy of ABC News
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) formally launched his campaign for the presidential nomination for the president of the United States on Tuesday. Sanders has described himself as a “Democratic socialist” and routinely labeled himself as more progressive than mainstay Democratic Party leaders.
In his address in Burlington, Vermont, Sanders laid out his “Agenda for America,” which focuses primarily on the following:
- Address income and wealth inequality by demanding that the wealthy and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes
- Make quality health care a right for all Americans
- Raise the minimum wage to a living wage and make sure women are paid as much as men
- Make higher education affordable by ending tuition at all public colleges and universities and by substantially lowering interest rates on student debt
- Expand and protect Social Security and Medicare
- Have America lead the world in addressing the planetary crisis of climate change
- Take on Wall Street to restore sanity to our economy
Sanders began his speech saying “Today, with your support and the support of millions of people throughout this country, we begin a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally.”
He went on to further elaborate the issues which he promises to address if elected president, primarily focusing on income inequality. “This grotesque level of inequality is immoral. It is bad economics. It is unsustainable. This type of rigged economy is not what America is supposed to be about. … The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time and it is the great political issue of our time. And we will address it.”
Sanders asked the audience “to join me in this campaign to build a future that works for all of us, and not just the few on top.”
Sanders’ received large preliminary successes after the announcement of his candidacy in April, raising $3 million dollars in the first four days. However, the 2016 presidential primaries will be his first time in the Democratic primary. Previously he had served as an Independent for eight terms in the House of Representatives and two terms in the Senate, although he has caucused with the Democrats before.
Despite Sanders’ political experience, he faces a difficult campaign against Democratic forerunner Hillary Clinton, who is expected to far outspend the Senator from Vermont.