Election 2020: Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Addresses Californians

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U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders traveled to California this weekend rallying crowds in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. He visited the Islamic Center of Southern California and joined interfaith leaders to address the racism, violence, and hatred. 

Sanders reflected on the recent New Zealand shooting and the need to come together to address gun violence in America, ban automatic assault weapons and address the xenophobia, racism, violence, and hatred that Donald Trump is perpetuating. 

The California Democratic Primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020. Below are his remarks from San Diego.

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Thank you all very much for being here tonight and thank you for being part of the political revolution.

As some of you may know, Robert Mueller today submitted his investigative report to the Attorney General. I don't know what's in the report. Nobody does. I do know, however, that Mueller wound up indicting 34 people, including 6 Trump campaign officials -- Manafort, Flynn, Stone, Gates (Manafort's assistant), Papadopolous, and Michael Cohen. 

I also know that it is imperative that the Trump administration make that full report public as soon as possible. Nobody, including the president of the United States, is above the law. The people have a right to know what's in that report.

Thank you for being part of a campaign which is not only going to win the great state of California and the Democratic nomination, which is not only going to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history, but with your help is going to transform this country and, finally, create an economy and government that works for all Americans, and not just the one percent.

Today, I want to welcome you to a campaign which says, with confidence, optimism and love, that the underlying principles of our government will not be greed, kleptocracy, hatred and lies. It will not be racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and religious bigotry. Those ugly anti-American sentiments are going to end and end soon.

The Principles of Our Government Will Be Based On Justice: Economic Justice, Social Justice, Racial Justice And Environmental Justice.

Donald Trump and his friends want to divide us up based on the color of our skin, our gender, where we were born, our religion or our sexual orientation. Well. We're going to do exactly the opposite. We're going to bring our people together: black and white, Latino, Asian American and Native American. Men and women. Gay and straight. Native born and immigrant.
And let me tell you what justice means:

It means that we will no longer stand idly by and allow this country to move toward an oligarchic form of government, with massive levels of wealth and income inequality, where a handful of billionaire families control our economic and political life.

Justice means that we will not allow 3 families in this country to own more wealth than the bottom half of America while, at the same time, more than 20 percent of our children live in poverty, veterans sleep out on the streets and 30 million Americans have no health insurance. That's not justice.

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Justice means that we will no longer accept 46 percent of all new income going to the top 1 percent, while millions of Americans are forced to work 2 or 3 jobs just to survive and over half of our people live paycheck to paycheck, frightened to death about what happens to them financially if their car breaks down or their child becomes sick. That's not justice.

Justice means that we will no longer accept CEOs of large corporations making over 300 times as much as their average workers, while 134,000 people are homeless in California alone and so many of our people live in despair and life expectancy in America has gone down for a third year in a row.

Justice means that we will no longer accept a situation in which the top 25 hedge fund managers on Wall Street make nearly double what all 140,000 kindergarten teachers in America earn - while millions of kids go to over-crowded and under-funded schools.

And when we are talking about injustice this country we are talking about racial injustice. At a time of overall massive levels of disparity within the United States, the situation is much worse for black families. It is not acceptable that black families own one-tenth the wealth than white families, that the infant mortality rate within the African American community is 2 1/2 times the white community, that red-lining in housing continues to exist, that black businesses cannot get the loans they need at affordable rates, that black school districts are under-funded and that a great deal of racism exists within our criminal justice system. Let's be clear. When we talk about justice we mean ending institutional racism in all its ugly forms.

And it also means doing everything we can to end the growing tribalism and religious bigotry we are seeing in this country and around the world. Rise in hate crimes. Attacks against blacks, Jews, Muslims, gays and immigrants.

And let me say a word to the young people of our country. At a moment in history in which we have seen an explosion in technology and huge increases in worker productivity, we will no longer accept a situation in which our younger generation will likely have a lower standard of living than their parents - lower wages, higher personal debt, unaffordable housing, less mobility. I have 4 kids and 7 grandchildren. Downward mobility is not acceptable to me, and it's not acceptable to the American people. This campaign is about moving our people up, not down.

But it's not just economic justice we are fighting for. It is political justice. Together, we are going to create a political system which is based on the democratic principles of one person - one vote - and end a corrupt system which allows billionaires to buy elections. Yes. We are going to overturn Citizens United, move to public funding of elections and end racist voter suppression. We will make it easier for people to vote, not harder.

As many of you will recall, when we first launched our campaign in 2015, very few people took our campaign seriously. The ideas that we were talking about then were considered by establishment politicians and mainstream media to be "radical" and "extreme" - ideas, they said, that nobody in America would support.

Economic Rights are Human Rights

Raising the minimum wage to a living wage. Too radical. Guaranteeing health care to all as a right. Too radical. Creating up to 15 million jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure with a one trillion dollar investment. Too radical. Aggressively combating climate change. Too radical. Legalizing marijuana. Too radical. Reforming our broken criminal justice and immigration systems. Too radical. Not having a super PACs or being dependent on the rich for campaign contributions. Too radical. Ending the power of super delegates at the Democratic Convention. Too radical.

Well, a funny thing happened. In 2016 we won victories in 22 states around the country, 13 million votes, over 1700 delegates at the convention and more votes from young people - black, white, Latino, Asian American and Native American - than Trump and Clinton combined.

And, by the way. Those ideas that we talked about 4 years ago that seemed so very radical at that time. Well, today, virtually all of those ideas are supported by a majority of the American people and have overwhelming support from Democrats and independents - and they're ideas that Democratic candidates from school board to president are now supporting.

It turns out that justice is not such a "radical" idea. It's an age old American idea. And we're going to bring it back in this country.

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We've come a long way in the last few years. Now we are going to complete what we started. We're going to turn our vision and our progressive agenda into reality. We are going to bring the beautiful concept of justice back to America.

Let me take this opportunity to mention a very interesting fact. It turns out that back in 1937, at this very location, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave a speech to the people of San Diego. And given the fact that Roosevelt was one of the outstanding presidents in American history, I am honored to be here in this very spot - 82 years later.

One of the great points that Roosevelt made late in his presidency was that the Bill of Rights in our Constitution was enormously important in guaranteeing Americans political rights and political freedoms. Freedom of religion. Freedom of the press. Freedom to gather. Etc. But Roosevelt stated that wasn't enough. If the people of our country were going to be truly secure, we needed to guarantee economic rights as well. The right to a decent job, the right to health care, housing, education, retirement security, etc. 

Well. I agree with FDR. Economic rights are human rights.

Affordable Medical Care – A Human Right

And that is why today, we say to the private health insurance companies, whether you like it or not, the United States will join every other major country on earth and guarantee healthcare to all people as a right. All Americans are entitled to go to the doctor when they're sick and not go bankrupt after staying in the hospital. We will no longer accept the absurdity of paying almost twice as much per capita on health care, while we have a lower life expectancy and worse health care outcomes than many other countries.

The goal of health care must be to provide quality care to all in a cost effective way, not tens of billions in profits for the insurance companies and outrageous compensation packages for CEOs. In 2017, the top 65 healthcare CEO’s made $1.7 billion - including $83.2 million to David Wichmann, the CEO of UnitedHealth. We need a health care system that invests in disease prevention, doctors, nurses, dentists and rural clinics. We don't need a system which makes insurance companies and their CEOs super rich.

Yes. We will pass a Medicare for all single-payer program. Health care is a right, not a privilege.

Today, we say to the pharmaceutical industry, that you will no longer charge the American people the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, the result being that one out of five Americans cannot afford the prescriptions their doctors prescribe. Seniors in this country should not have to cut their pills in half. The outrageous greed of the pharmaceutical industry is going to end. We are going to lower prescription drug prices in this country.

Today, we say to Walmart and other low wage employers: Stop paying your workers starvation wages. Yes. We are going to raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage - $15 an hour. Nobody who works 40 hours a week in this country should live in poverty. And yes. We're going to make it easier for people to join unions, not harder.

A Higher Minimum Wage – A Human Right

Four years ago, when we talked about the idea of a $15 an hour minimum wage, it seemed like an impossible dream. Well, since then, we have successfully pressured Amazon and Disney to raise their minimum wage to $15, and just today Costco raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour. We have also seen 5 states, including California, pass $15 an hour legislation and, just a few weeks ago, the U.S. House Committee on Labor and Education reported out a bill that will raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. And, I believe, that bill will pass the full House within the month.

And by the way. Today we say to corporate America that artificial intelligence and robotics are not going to be used just to throw workers out on the street. This exploding technology must serve human needs, not just corporate profits.

Today we say to the American people that we will rebuild our crumbling infrastructure: our roads, our bridges, our rail system and subways, our airports, our water systems and wastewater plants - and when we do that we create up to 13 million good paying jobs.

Today we say to the parents in this country that you and your kids deserve quality, affordable childcare. The children are our future, and they deserve the best possible head start in life with a high quality, universal pre-K program.

Today, we say to our young people that we want you to get the best education that you can, regardless of the income of your family. Good jobs require a good education. That is why we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition free, and substantially lower the outrageous level of student debt that currently exists.

Today, we say to our senior citizens, that we understand that you cannot live in dignity when you are trying to survive on $13,000 or $14,000 a year in Social Security benefits. My Republican colleagues want to cut Social Security but we have some bad news for them. We're not going to cut Social Security benefits. We're going to expand them.

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Today, we say to Donald Trump and the fossil fuel industry that climate change is not a hoax but is a massive threat to our country and the entire planet - and we intend to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy and, in the process, create millions of good paying jobs. 

A few months ago, after the terrible forest fires here in California, I will never forget speaking to some people who barely survived the horrible destruction in Paradise, California - which was caused by the prolonged drought here. And what an unbelievable and frightening story they told.

Today, we say to the prison-industrial-complex that we are going to bring about real criminal justice reform. We are going to end the international embarrassment of having more people in jail than any other country on earth. Instead of spending $80 billion a year on jails and incarceration, we are going to invest in jobs and education for our young people. No more private prisons and detention centers. No more profiteering from locking people up. No more "war on drugs." No more keeping people in jail because they're too poor to afford cash bail.

And by the way, when we talk about criminal justice reform, we're going to change a system in which tens of thousands of Americans every year get criminal records for possessing marijuana, but not one major Wall Street executive went to jail for destroying our economy in 2008 as a result of their greed, recklessness and illegal behavior. No. They didn't go to jail. They got a trillion-dollar bailout.

Today, we say to the American people that instead of demonizing the undocumented immigrants in this country, we're going to pass comprehensive immigration reform and provide a path toward citizenship. We're going to provide legal status to the 1.8 million young people eligible for the DACA program, and develop a humane border policy for those who seek asylum. No more snatching babies from the arms of their mothers.

Today, we say to the military-industrial-complex that we will not continue to spend $700 billion a year on the military. We want and need a strong defense, but we do not have to spend more than the next ten nations combined. We're going to invest in affordable housing, we're going to invest in public education, we're going to invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. We're not going to invest in never-ending wars.

Today, we say to the top 1 percent and the large profitable corporations in this country - people who have never had it so good -- that under a Bernie Sanders administration we're going to end the massive tax breaks and loopholes that you currently enjoy.

We will no longer accept the absurd situation where large corporations like Amazon, Netflix and General Motors pay nothing in federal income taxes after raking in billions in profits. We will no longer tolerate the situation in which the wealthy and large corporations stash billions in tax havens throughout the world.

Trump gave 83% of his tax breaks to the top 1% and large corporations. In our administration, that will end and the wealthy and multinational corporations in this country will start paying their fair share of taxes. We are going to end austerity for working families, and provide some austerity for large, multinational corporations.

Brothers and sisters: We're going to defeat Donald Trump not because I am a billionaire or because we have a super PAC funded by billionaires. We're going to win this election because we will put together the strongest grassroots coalition in the history of American politics.

We are going to bring our people together for an unprecedented grassroots effort, which, I am happy to tell you, already has over one million people signed up as volunteers.

And I know something about grassroots politics. It's something I've been doing my whole political life and it's something I do kind of naturally. You see, I did not come from a super wealthy family, like Trump, a family which gave him millions of dollars to build luxury skyscrapers, casinos and country clubs. I did not come from a family that sent me to an elite private school. I was educated in public schools. I did not come from a family that gave me a $200,000 allowance every year beginning at the age of 3. As I recall, my allowance was 25 cents a week, about $12 a year.

As you all remember, a few months ago, Donald Trump boasted about shutting down the government and leaving 800,000 federal employees without income to pay their bills. I guess that when you are a billionaire you may not understand what it's like to be in a family that lives paycheck to paycheck, and needs money to pay the mortgage, the light bills and put gas in the car to get to work.

My family lived paycheck to paycheck. I know where I come from, and that's something I will never forget.

A Sanders Presidency – When We Are In The White House

Brothers and sisters: There is going to be a lot of campaign rhetoric over the next many months. Let me take this opportunity to be as specific as I can be about what a Bernie Sanders presidency means.

When We are in the White House, we will enact a federal jobs guarantee, to ensure that everyone is guaranteed a stable job. There is more than enough work to be done in this country. Let's do it.

When We are in the White House we will not only end the decline of rural America, but attack the problem of urban gentrification and rising rents in urban America. We need a massive effort to build the affordable housing this country desperately needs, and that's an effort I intend to lead.

When We are in the White House, we will move aggressively to end the epidemic of gun violence in this country and pass the common sense gun safety legislation that the overwhelming majority of Americans want. People who should not have guns, will not have guns.
When We are in the White House, we are going to protect a woman’s right to control her own body. That is her decision, not the government's.

Make no mistake about it, this struggle is not just about defeating Donald Trump. This struggle is about taking on the incredibly powerful institutions that control the economic and political life of this country. And I’m talking about Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the military-industrial complex, agri-business, the prison-industrial complex, the fossil fuel industry and a corrupt campaign finance system that enables billionaires to buy elections.

These powerful special interests are going to spend a lot of money to try to defeat us. But we have something they don’t have: the power of the people.

Brothers and sisters: We have an enormous amount of work in front of us. But this what I believe. If we stand together, if we don't allow Trump and his friends to divide us up;

If we stand together as black and white, Latino, Asian American and Native American. If we stand together as gay and straight, men and women, native born and immigrant. If we stand together as rural and urban - north, south, east and west.

While it is true that the powerful special interests have unlimited amounts of money, thousands of lobbyists and the ability to buy and sell politicians - we have something they don't have. We have the people.

If we understand that there really is no such thing as blue state or a red state, but states throughout the country where working people are struggling to survive.

If we stand together, this country has an extraordinary future. Let's make it happen.

The California Democratic Primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020.

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