Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has denounced inequality and racism promulgated by the new US administration, calling on the public to “stand up and fight back.”
The Vermont senator made the scathing remarks during a commencement address at Brooklyn College in New York City on Tuesday.
“We must never allow demagogues to divide us up among race or religion, by national origin or sexual orientation … Black and whites, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Christians, Muslims, Jews, every religion, we must stand together. This country belongs to all of us,” Sanders said.
“The truth is that the only rational choice we have, the only real response we can make is to stand up and fight back and reclaim American democracy and create a government that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent,” he added, referencing the campaign themes that resonated with millions of Americans and allowed his 2016 bid to soar. “The issues we deal with today — the economic issues, the social issues, the environmental issues, they not only impact your lives, they impact lives of future generations … And you do not have the moral right to turn your back on saving this planet and saving future generations. The very, very rich are getting richer and they’re getting tax cuts, while the working class are struggling and seeing drastic cuts, in life and death programs.”
The Vermont senator also pointed to mass incarceration in the US, which by some estimates is the largest in the world.
“Because of poverty and racism, today in a broken criminal justice system, we have more people in jail than any other country on earth,” Sanders said. “And those people are disproportionately black, Latino, and Native American.”
The senator also criticized the House GOP’s healthcare legislation that President Donald Trump supports.
“Unbelievably, at exactly the same time as they are throwing people off of healthcare [and] making it harder for kids to go to college, they have the chutzpah to provide $300 billion in tax breaks to the top 1 percent,” he said of Republican lawmakers.
A recent opinion poll indicated that Sanders is currently the most popular politician in the United States, with 57 percent of registered American voters having favorable views of him.
The Harvard-Harris survey found that the senator was the only politician who scored the majority vote out of 16 officials within the Trump administration as well as congressional leaders.
The poll’s findings showed that Sanders’ supporters might still have a chance to see him run in 2020, a possibility the 75-year-old senator has not ruled out.
Sanders predicted last month that Trump’s performance and low job approval ratings since his inauguration on January 20 indicated that he would not be elected into the White House for a second term.
“I do not believe that if Trump continues these policies that he’s going to be reelected. Nor do I think that the Republicans are going to do well in 2018,” he argued.
Sanders won a number of primaries in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election before throwing his support behind Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
The Jewish politician has led a lobbying campaign aimed at derailing Trump’s key policies such as healthcare and tax reform.