Bernie Sanders, the far left wing senator from Vermont who represented socialist and progressive interests in the 2016 presidential race, on Saturday stepped back into the spotlight with a rally that officially licked off his 2020 bid for the presidency.
Edited by: JV Staff
Sanders’s 2020 campaign had hauled in massive amounts of cash less than a week after he announced his presidential bid and his fundraising shows no sign of slowing down.
The rally at Brooklyn College, which he attended, was meant to showcase a more personal aspect of the candidate not emphasized during his 2016 run. His working-class background — he grew up living in a small, rent-controlled apartment on East 26th Street and Kings Highway in Brooklyn served to contrast with that of sitting President Donald Trump, who grew up in an affluent area of nearby Queens.
“I know what it’s like to be in a family that lives paycheck to paycheck,” he said, describing his immigrant father’s struggle to establish himself in the United States. While Sanders made little of his Jewish ancestry in the 2016 race, on Saturday he said his father’s family was “wiped out” in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Sanders also called Trump “the most dangerous president in modern American history,” and promised to fight for “economic justice, social justice, racial justice and environmental justice.”
He also said, “The underlying principles of our government will not be greed, hatred and lies. It will not be racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and religious bigotry. That is going to end.”
Seeking to broaden his appeal to minorities, Sanders will appear in Selma, Ala., on Sunday to participate in events commemorating the Selma civil rights march, which took place in 1965.
While Sanders is one of the best-known candidates of the already crowded race for the 2020 Democratic nomination, he is noted for his grass-roots following, which made him a surprisingly strong challenger to Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Left wing activist and journalist Shaun King introduced Sanders to the assembled crowd at the college quad and said that he senator had a record of fighting racism. Saying that Sanders had vocally opposed apartheid in South Africa, he added that he also has repeatedly spoken out against “apartheid in Palestine, even though it is not popular.” For his part, Sanders has taken anti-Israel stances and was the only candidate in the 2016 presidential race not to have address the annual AIPAC policy conference.
In January of this year, Sanders said it was “absurd” for Republicans to introduce as the Senate’s first bill of this Congress legislation that would protect states that penalize Israel boycotters.
“It’s absurd that the first bill during the shutdown is legislation which punishes Americans who exercise their constitutional right to engage in political activity,” Sanders, I-Vt. said on Twitter, linking to an article in The Intercept about the bill. (VOA)
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