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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

“It’s About Us, Not Me”

Sanders’ rally on campus brought a large and enthusiastic crowd of Wofford students and community members. Photo courtesy of Mark Olencki.

Sanders brings new left to campus

Hundreds filled the seats in the Jerry Richardson Stadium to meet Senator Bernie Sanders on the 2020 campaign trail. 

“We’ve got a lot of serious business to go over, so let’s get going,” he began.

With only a matter of days before Super Tuesday, often a very telling date in the democratic primary, Sanders jumped right into the issues faced by the nation and the biggest question on the minds of his supporters. 

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“We have to make sure we defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country,” Sanders said. He went on to explain how President Donald Trump is a “fraud” and a “pathological liar,” citing many of the President’s promises to working class people that have not been fulfilled. 

“We’re going to defeat Trump because the American people have caught on.”

Sanders went on to explain what makes his campaign “unprecedented.” In many of his advertisements, the phrase “paid for by Bernie 2020 (not the billionaires)” appears, which hints at the audience he’s attempting to reach. 

“We are running a very different type of campaign. What is most important about what we are doing is we are building a multigenerational, multiracial grassroots movement.” 

In defense of his more radical approach, Sanders said, “Donald tTrump can not be defeated by a traditional, old-fashioned campaign.” 

One of the promises Sanders has made repeatedly is that his campaign is “Of the working class, by the working class, and for the working class.” His father was an immigrant and a paint salesman, and he champions his working class background. 

“We will bring working class people into the political process.” 

During his speech, Sanders also provided more information about what he’s fighting against. “The top three people in America own more wealth than the bottom half,” he said—a statement which energized the crowd.

As the speech progressed, Sanders hit many of the major issues that Democratic candidates are discussing: universal healthcare, increased minimum wage, climate change, the criminal justice system, immigration and gun control. 

On climate change, Sanders remarked, “We have a moral responsibility to make sure the planet we leave our kids is healthy and habitable.” 

He also laid out his plans to work with other world superpowers in order to come up with a global solution. 

“We do not want to live in a country that has more people in jail than any other country on earth,” Sanders said of the criminal justice system. “It costs more money to keep somebody in jail than to send them to the University of South Carolina. I would rather send them to the university.” 

Sanders also outlined his goal to completely decriminalize marijuana use and expunge the records of people with possession charges. 

In regard to gun policy, Sanders said, “Here’s my promise to you. Our gun safety policy will be determined by the American party, not the NRA.”

Eventually, Sanders landed on one of his famous political cornerstones: education. 

“Our administration will be about changing national priorities,” he said. “That is why we will make colleges and universities free.” 

Sanders has always been at the front of the debate over higher education, and standing on a college campus, his words seemed to resonate with the audience, a good amount of which were college students. 

“If Congress can bail out Wall Street, and give tax breaks to millionaires, you know what else it can do? It can cancel all student debt in America.” 

As his speech drew to a close, Sanders brought his points back to the nature of his unprecedented campaign. “When the establishment sees turnouts like this, you’re making them very nervous.”

Days later, the Super Tuesday results came in, with Presidential candidate Joe Biden taking the lead over Sanders, who was able to secure the largest state, California. Regardless of who the DNC chooses for its Democratic Nomination, Bernie Sanders’ campaign will not fade into obscurity. There is no denying his impact as an “anti-establishment” figure. Similar to his 2016 bid for presidency, the senator from Vermont managed to inspire loyal progressives and take a different approach to campaigning. “It’s about us, not me. No president can do it all alone. Real change in this country never takes place from the top on down, but always from the bottom up.”

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