Feb 28, 2020
Bernie Sanders Columbia, South Carolina Rally Transcript
Bernie Sanders held a campaign rally in Columbia, South Carolina just ahead of the South Carolina primaries. Read the full transcript of his rally right here on Rev.com.
Bernie Sanders: (00:00)
… Is about, is saying that we need a government and an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1%. Now, some of you may have heard recently that the establishment is getting a little bit of nervous about our campaign and they should get nervous because we’re going to win. And one of the new lines that we’re hearing from the establishment is “Bernie can’t win.” Well, I say to those folks, take a look at the last 60 national polls Bernie beats Trump 56 out of 60 times. Take a look at some of the polls in the battleground states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Bernie beats Trump.
Bernie Sanders: (01:10)
Now, we’re going to beat Trump because we’re doing something that has not been done in recent history. We are putting together a grass roots movement based on excitement, based on an energy. We’re bringing people into the political process, who previously were not involved. You got millions of workers all over this country that are working two or three jobs. They’re earning starvation wages. They can’t afford healthcare, and they have said, “Why should I get involved in the political process? Who cares about me?” This campaign cares about you.
Bernie Sanders: (01:53)
This campaign is prepared to take on Wall Street and their greed. We’re prepared to take on the insurance companies. We’re prepared to take on the drug companies and lower the cost of prescription drugs in this country. This is a campaign that is bringing young people, black and white and Latino, Native American, Asian American into the political process. And when you get working people involved and you get young people involved, we’re going to have the largest voter turnout in the history of this country in November, which is what we need to defeat Trump. And this is a campaign that’s going to win because we are a campaign of the working class of this country, by the working class and for the working class. We don’t have a Super Pack. We don’t need a Super Pack.
Bernie Sanders: (03:06)
I don’t go around to rich people’s homes and beg money. We have received more campaign contributions from more Americans and at this point in the campaign, that any candidate in the history of the United States of America. And the reason for that is that the working families of this country understand that we are prepared to stand up to corporate greed and collusion. I’ve been all over this state and I’ve talked to workers in South Carolina and they’re telling me they can’t make it on eight, nine, 10 bucks an hour and that’s why we’re going to raise the federal minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour.
Bernie Sanders: (03:59)
I talked to women who tell me they don’t like getting 70, 80 cents on the dollar compared to men. That is why we believe in equal pay for equal work. Now, I know that the leadership here in South Carolina, your governor and the leaders in the legislature, they don’t like unions, I like unions. There are millions of workers in this country who want to join a union. We’re going to make it easier for them to do that. Double union membership in four years. We’re going to create millions of good paying jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and that includes 10 million units of low income and affordable housing.
Bernie Sanders: (04:58)
This is America. We should not have 500,000 people, including 30,000 veterans sleeping out on the streets of America tonight. And as Americans, we understand that the future of this country is with the young people and that is why we believe in education. We believe in high quality, universal, affordable childcare for every working family in America. We believe that all of our kids, and this is a national issue, but it is an even more severe issue here in South Carolina, we believe that all of our kids, regardless of the income of their families, deserve a high-quality public education. And that is why we’re going to triple funding for low income Title I schools.
Bernie Sanders: (06:10)
I just spoke to earlier today, a teacher here in South Carolina, she is working at three other jobs. She’s a teacher, but in order to make a living, she’s working for Uber, she’s a waitress. In America, teachers should be focused on teaching, not have to work three other jobs and that is why we’re going to fight to make sure that all teachers receive at least $60,000.00 a year in salary. And because we believe in education, we believe that all of our kids, regardless of their income, have the right to a higher education, college or trade school, which is why we’re going to make all the colleges and universities tuition free. And if Congress could give a trillion dollars in tax breaks two years ago, against my vote, to the 1% in large corporations, you know what we can do? We can forgive all student debt in this country.
Bernie Sanders: (07:25)
I’ll tell you what else our administration is about. It’s about ending the international embarrassment, and it truly is an embarrassment, that the United States of America is the only major country on earth, not to guarantee healthcare to all people as human right. Now, I live 50 miles away from the Canadian border. Somehow in Canada, they managed to provide quality, care to all of their people, and they spend half as much per capita as we do. But it’s not just Canada, it’s France, it’s Germany, it’s the UK, it’s Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, you name it. If every other country on earth can guarantee healthcare to all of their people at half the cost of what we’re spending, don’t tell me we can’t do the same.
Bernie Sanders: (08:35)
Don’t tell me we can’t take on the greed and corruption of the pharmaceutical industry. For charging us, in some cases, 10 times more for the same exact drugs sold abroad. I believe that the time is long overdue, given that we have been talking as a nation for over a hundred years about universal healthcare, the time is now to stop the talk. The time is now for action whether the healthcare industry likes it or not, we’re going to pass a Medicare for All single-payer program. No premiums, no deductibles, no co-payments, no out-of-pocket expenses. That’s what Medicare for All is about.
Bernie Sanders: (09:39)
Now we have a president who not only is an embarrassment to this country, frankly, he’s an embarrassment to the entire world. This is a president who thinks that climate change is a hoax. I think Donald Trump is a hoax, and our administration will listen to the scientists, not right-wing extremists. And what the scientists are telling us is that climate change is an existential threat to our country and to the entire planet. What they are telling us is that the oceans and the sea levels are rising and that means that great American cities like Miami, like Charleston, South Carolina, like Myrtle beach, South Carolina, like New Orleans, like New York City will be partially or maybe even completely underwater by the end of the century if we do not get our act together.
Bernie Sanders: (10:49)
Well, under our administration, we will get our act together, we’re going to tell the fossil fuel industry that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of this planet. We are going to move forward toward a Green New Deal which transforms our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, and creates up to 20 million good-paying jobs in the process. And when we talk about things that have to be done in this country, that are long overdue, we must reform a broken and racist criminal justice system.
Bernie Sanders: (11:40)
This is America. We should not have more people in jail than any other country on earth, including China, four times our size. This is America, and we are going to invest in our kids, in good jobs and education, not more jails and incarceration. And that means that right now when we have four hundred thousand people in jail who haven’t committed, who haven’t been convicted of a crime, but are in jail because they cannot afford bail, we’re going to end cash bail in America. We are going to end private prisons and detention centers, and I’ll tell you what else we’re going to end. On day one we’re going to begin the process of ending the war on drugs
Bernie Sanders: (12:53)
On day one, when we sign an executive order that legalizes marijuana in every state in this country. Now this war on drugs has been incredibly distructive for so many people, especially the African American, Latino and Native American community. And that is why we are going to move aggressively to expunge the criminal records of those arrested for possession of marijuana. And when we talk about systems that are broken, we are going to bring fundamental reform to our immigration citizens. On day one, we sign an executive order restoring the legal status of the 1.8 million young people eligible for the DACA program. On day one, we change our border policies so that federal agents will no longer be snatching babies from the arms of their mothers.
Bernie Sanders: (14:06)
And our administration will move aggressively to do something that should’ve been done decades ago, and that is to pass comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship. And when we talk about issues impacting Americans, we are all horrified by the level of gun violence in this country. And I know that South Carolina has suffered some terrible tragedies. So my promise to you is that our gun safety legislation will be determined by the American people, not the NRA. And that means universal background checks. It means ending the gun show loophole, and it means doing something that I have believed in for 30 years and that is ending the sale and distribution of assault weapons in this country.
Bernie Sanders: (15:16)
And I’m a United States Senator and I hear a lot of speeches on the floor of the Senate from conservative Republicans and their mantra is that they believe in small government. They believe in getting the government off the backs of the American people. Well, I say to those hypocrits, if you believe in getting the government off the backs of the American people understand, that it is women who have a right to control their own bodies, not the government. And I want to speak to the men here today because women now are under a political assault all over this country. Men stand with the women, they need your help. And my promise to you is, I will never nominate anybody to the Supreme court or the federal bench who is not 100% pro Roe V Wade. Trump and his friends wants cuts to Planned Parenthood. Well, we’ve got some bad news for them, we’re going to greatly expand funding for Planned Parenthood.
Bernie Sanders: (16:40)
So here we are, brothers and sisters, one day before the South Carolina Primary, a very important day in the political process. And this takes place in the middle of the most consequential election in the modern history of this country. So I’m here today, to humbly and respectfully ask for your support tomorrow. I’m asking you to bring out your friends and your co-workers and your neighbors so we can have the largest voter turnout in the history of the South Carolina Primary, and if your friends don’t want to come out and vote, tell them you’re tired of hearing their complaining. You’re tired of hearing them moan and groan about low wages, or the high cost of rent, or the fact that they are $50,000.00 in debt. Tired of hearing about the fact that the government is doing too little on climate change. Tired of hearing them talk about all the racism, the sexism, the homophobia that they dislike. We are not now in the mood for complaining. We are now in the mood for action.
Bernie Sanders: (18:26)
And that is what we are about. We’re not just a campaign. We are a movement. Trump wants to divide us up. We’re bringing people together, black and white, and Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight. We are sick and tired of an economy and government that works for wealthy campaign contributors. We’re tired of three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of America. Tired of half of our people living paycheck to paycheck. We’re tired of half a million Americans sleeping out on the street. We’re tired of 45 million people struggling with student debt. We are tired of being the only country, major country on earth not to guarantee to all, or to have paid family and medical leave.
Bernie Sanders: (19:16)
Well, we’re tired and when you’re tired, you got to stand up and you got to fight back. And you got to tell the billionaires of this country they’re no longer going to be running our economy and our government. Now here is the simple truth. As a United States Senator, I know that the power of the 1%. Do not underestimate that power. They own the media, they have huge power over our economy and they have huge power over the political process. Billionaires running for president, billionaires spending huge amounts of money on campaign contributions. They are enormously powerful and I’m talking about Wall Street, talking about the insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry. I am talking about the military industrial complex.
Bernie Sanders: (20:16)
They are very powerful and do not for one moment underestimate their power. But this is what I do understand, what I believe in my gut, is that at the end of the day, the 1% is 1%. And if we stand together, and don’t allow Trump and his friends to divide us up. If we keep our eyes on the prize, which is an agenda that works for working families, if we stand together, if we’re prepared to stand up and fight, if we’re prepared to bring people into the political process, all of the money in the world is not going to be able to stop us. So let us go forward tomorrow. Let us win the primary here in South Carolina. Let us win the Democratic nomination. Let us defeat Donald Trump. Let us transform this country. Thank you all very much (singing).