If his performance at the Vermont Democratic Party soiree last week is any indication, Sen. Bernie Sanders has honed his presidential stump speech.
Sanders, I-Vt., has had plenty of opportunity: Over the past few months, he has tested the waters in New Hampshire, Iowa and North Carolina with his hallmark message on the growing gap between the rich and poor in America and how big money has tilted the electoral process.
The junior senator from Vermont, who was one of the opening acts of the evening, upstaged Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, with his brief, podium-pounding talk to a crowd of 900 Democratic supporters Friday in Essex Junction.
He laid out the most serious problems America has faced in modern history.
“The reality is the middle class in America is disappearing,” Sanders said. “The reality is that we have more people living in poverty today than any time in the history of the United States. The reality is, in America today there is more income wealth inequality than any major country on Earth.”
Unemployment rates nationwide are 6.2 percent, but if people who have given up or work part time are included in the statistics, the rate jumps to 12 percent, he said.
Thousands of young people can’t afford to go to college, without going $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000 into debt, he said. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people, Sanders said, and billionaires are now able to buy elections and buy and sell politicians. That’s why we have to overturn Citizens United, he said.
“What we are engaged in right now is not just an economic struggle and a political struggle, but it is most profoundly a moral struggle,” Sanders said. “My colleagues in the House tell us that while there has been a huge increase in inequality, the most pressing problem in American is to give more tax breaks for the wealthy in this country.”