A video that shows Bernie Sanders, then in his mid-forties in 1988, as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, responding to a question from C-SPAN about his vision of the campaign platform for his ideal presidential candidate has gone viral.
Responding to the question, he noted the fact of an extreme gap between the rich and the poor and that the rich have used their wealth to hijack the political process and make it serve their ends.
He said that his ideal presidential candidate would have the courage to challenge the political establishment and billionaires who control the political process. Sanders’ ideal presidential candidate would speak for the underdogs — for people who lack basic healthcare benefits — and confront the problem of increasing disparity between the rich and poor. He would call out the Washington establishment for corruption and challenge the role of big money donors in the electoral process.
“I would like to see somebody who has the guts to begin to stand up to the people who own this country,” he said. “So my first concern is to have a president who has the courage to look reality in the face and say that we need some radical changes in this country so that every American can have the opportunity to have a decent standard of living and live a decent life.”
He continued, “In our nation today we have an extreme disparity between the rich and the poor. Elections are bought and sold and controlled by people who have huge sums of money.”
Sanders also pointed out that the poor, who constitute 50 percent of the population, have developed an apathy to politics, and having “given up on the system” they do not bother to vote.
Sanders’ ideal candidate would recognize the widespread disillusionment among poor and working class Americans and have the courage to hold a vision of America that belongs to all and not just a few super-rich.
At the time he announced his decision to run for president, he said, “I don’t believe that the men and women who defended American democracy fought to create a situation where billionaires own the political process.”
Earlier in 2013, as the 2016 election season approached, with people anticipating that he would declare his interest in the presidential race, he said in an interview with Playboy Magazine, “I think people are hungering for a voice out there. It would be tempting to try to raise issues and demand discussion on issues that are not being talked about: inequality in wealth and trade policy, protecting the social safety net, moving aggressively on global warming.”
Bernie Sanders was born on September 8, 1941, in Brooklyn, New York. He ran as an independent and was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, on April 6, 1981. He held office as mayor of Vermont until April 4, 1989. He was elected to represent Vermont’s at-large congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990. He was member of the House of Representatives for Vermont’s at-large district from January 3, 1991 to January 3, 2007.
He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and assumed office as a U.S. Senator for Vermont on January 3, 2007, after he had served in the House of Representatives for 16 years.
He announced his decision to run for president as a Democratic Party candidate on April 30, 2015, and launched his campaign officially on May 26, 2015, in Burlington.
[Photo By John Locher/AP]