About three months after entering the 2020 presidential race, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has finally held a campaign rally in the state that he represents on Capitol Hill.
The rain held off in Montpelier just long enough for the Green Mountain State’s junior senator to speak for about an hour Saturday afternoon.
“We need an economy that allows all Americans to have a decent standard of living and to live productive, secure lives,” he said. “We don’t need an economy in which so few have so much and so many have so little. Today, we think about those moms and dads in Vermont and in California who cannot afford quality child care, and today, we think about public school teachers who are taking money out of their own pockets to buy supplies for kids in underfunded schools.”
Sanders told several thousand people that his campaign is about social, economic, racial and environmental justice…which includes his desire to implement Medicare for all.
“Last year, the top ten drug companies in America made $69 billion in profit. Meanwhile, they charge you and you and everyone else in America the highest prices in the world, by far, for the medicine that they need. Insanely, one in five Americans cannot afford to fill the prescriptions their doctors prescribe. Well, I’ve got bad news for the drug companies. We’re going to cut the cost of prescription drugs by 50% whether the drug companies like it or not.
“Last year, the five major insurance companies made $20 billion in profit while maintaining a dysfunctional system that costs us twice as much per capita for health care as any other country. We spend twice as much per person on health care as the countries that provide universal care.”
Sanders also added later, “We believe that the function of a health care system is to provide quality health care to all people, and not to make billions.”
He reminded supporters that America is the runaway world leader in military spending.
“We want and need a strong defense, but we do not have to spend more than the next 10 nations combined,” Sanders said.
However, he did not mention that he supports the basing at Burlington International Airport of the F-35 fighter jet, which is the most expensive weapon of war ever built.
If there’s something about Sanders holding a presidential campaign rally in Vermont right around Memorial Day that seems vaguely familiar, it’s because he’s done it before.
He launched his last presidential campaign with a rally at the Burlington waterfront four years ago tomorrow. Sanders noted that at that time, many of his policy positions were widely considered radical.
“Guaranteeing health care to all as a human right? Not so radical today,” he said. “Creating up to 15 million jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure? Not so radical today.”
Sanders says he believes a majority of Americans now support these ideas, which he claims should serve to help unite people.
“Donald Trump and his friends believe they can win the coming election by dividing us up based on the color of our skin or where we were born or our sexual orientation or our religion,” he said. “They think getting us to hate each other is their path toward victory. Well, I’ve got news for Donald Trump. That is not a path toward victory. That is a path toward defeat.”
Sanders’ own campaign path will take him to New Hampshire for several events on Memorial Day and the day after that.