Feb 6, 2020
Bernie Sanders Speech Transcript: Sanders Speaks During Delayed Iowa Results
Bernie Sanders spoke to supporters during the delay in the Iowa Caucus vote counting on February 6, 2020. Read the full transcript right here on Rev.com.
Bernie Sanders: (00:00)
Just want to take this opportunity to thank all of those volunteers for the extraordinary effort that they made, which made our victory possible. Now as everyone knows, the Iowa process is enormously complicated. In my view, it is far too complicated.
Bernie Sanders: (00:22)
And one word, if I might, about the so-called state delegate equivalence, SDEs, that the cable news and political pundants have spent so much time pontificating about. Because of changes to Democratic party rules that will widely supported during the Democratic Unity Reform Commission. These state delegate equivalents have greatly diminished importance from past caucuses and they should. In the past, a candidate with more delegates at the state and county conventions could actually change the number of national delegates, delegates who go to the national convention, from that allocated on caucus night. That is no longer the case.
Bernie Sanders: (01:13)
As it stands right now, to the best of my knowledge, either I or Mr. Buttigieg will end with a tiny fraction of an advantage in the SDEs. I think he’s ahead now by some 3.5 state delegates out of 2,150 total number of delegates. That may change. We may go in the lead by a little bit. Given the remaining precincts outstanding and mathematical errors, which we are discovering in the data, we could well end up with more SDEs. But this difference no matter who inches ahead in the end is meaningless, because we are both likely to receive the same number of national delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. I think right now it is about 11 each probably go up a bit. Those national delegates, not the state delegates, are the ones that really matter in the nominating process.
Bernie Sanders: (02:17)
And now that Iowa is hopefully, finally behind us, let me take this opportunity to thank the thousands of volunteers here in New Hampshire who are out today on the streets in rain and snow, knocking on doors, making the phone calls that have to be made, using social media in order to help us win here in Iowa.
Bernie Sanders: (02:42)
Last point that I want to make is I have been asked over and over again why I believe that we are the campaign to defeat Donald Trump and let me tell you why that is the case. At the end of the day, in order to defeat Donald Trump, who will be a very formidable opponent, we are going to need an unprecedented grassroots movement of folks who are prepared to knock on doors and do all of the things that our support did in Iowa and they’re doing right here in New Hampshire and they’re doing right now in California and in Nevada and South Carolina and all across this country.
Bernie Sanders: (03:22)
Our campaign is I believe the campaign that is putting together a multi-generational, multi-racial process in which we are bringing people together around an agenda that is speaking to the working families of this country. We’re not out raising huge sums of money from millionaires and billionaires. We have an agenda that is going to take on the millionaires and the billionaires. We have an agenda which is going to deal with income and wealth inequality. We have an agenda which is going to raise wages for the working families of this country, an agenda, which says finally, after 100 years of talk, now is the time to do what every other major country on earth is doing, and that is to guarantee healthcare to all people as a human rights.
Bernie Sanders: (04:17)
So I think we have the grassroots movement that wins. We have the agenda that wins. I’m confident that we’re going to do really well here in New Hampshire, having won Iowa. We’re going to do very well in Nevada. I think we’re going to do a lot better than people think in South Carolina. I think we’ve got a good shot to win California. And bottom line, I believe that we are well positioned to win the Democratic nomination and to defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country. I thank you all very much.
Speaker 2: (04:47)
Senator Sanders. Senator Sanders.
Bernie Sanders: (04:50)
CBS. We’ll start with CBS. Then we’ll go on.
Speaker 3: (04:58)
Senator Tom Perez is calling for essentially a recount in this process. Is that something that you would support and do you trust that the people running the party in Iowa are effective in doing their job?
Bernie Sanders: (05:10)
All I can say is what I just said, is we won an eight person election by some 6,000 votes. That is not going to be changed. What may be changed in this so-called recount is a few SDEs here, but at the end of the day, as I’ve just indicated, these SDEs are not of what… what these SDEs will do is go to a convention in Iowa. They will determine who the Iowa chairman is. They will determine the rules of the Iowa Democratic Party. Very important, I guess, for Iowa Democrats, but not important for the rest of the country. At the end of the day, what will… I expect almost definitely happen is that Mr. Buttigieg And I will end up with the same amount of delegates, 11 now each probably a little bit more. That’s what will happen. Ain’t going to change. And what certainly is not going to change is the fact that in terms of the popular vote, we won a decisive victory.
Speaker 3: (06:04)
Bernie Sanders: (06:04)
Gary. Hold… I’m sorry. Yeah. Gary.
Senator, there’s been a lot of accounting issues and a lot of issues with the Iowa Democratic Party. How should people respond to this? Should they trust the Iowa Democratic Party here?
Bernie Sanders: (06:14)
I think what you should trust are two things. Number one, and I really do feel bad for the people of Iowa, because I’ve been all over the state, as you well know. We have held, I think, 120 rallies and town meetings, and these are serious people who are trying to do the best they can in determining who the best candidate for president is. And I think what has happened with the Iowa Democratic Party is an outrage, that they were that unprepared, that they put forth such a complicated process, relied on untested technology and also to be honest with you, they have relied on thousands of volunteers, good people who have to get up and go to work the next day, all right, to do what is enormously complicated and I think there is very little doubt that what happened on Monday night, that type of process, that complicated process that is never, ever, I don’t think going to happen again. Yeah.
Speaker 2: (07:16)
Speaker 3: (07:16)
Speaker 5: (07:17)
Senator Sanders, Mayor Pete’s been declaring a win for days now. Why should people believe your victory speech over his?
Bernie Sanders: (07:26)
Because I got 6,000 more votes and from where I come when you get 6,000 more votes, that’s generally regarded to be the winner.
Speaker 2: (07:33)
Speaker 3: (07:33)
Bernie Sanders: (07:33)
Speaker 6: (07:37)
Senator, a huge part of the recount is from the satellite caucuses, which you are doing very well in. Are you worried about why this recount was called, specifically with those votes in mind?
Bernie Sanders: (07:49)
No, I don’t think it’s going to be… I just learned about this a few minutes ago, but I think if they’re going to do this recount, that’ll be for every precinct in the state. And look, in terms of the satellite caucuses, the purpose of the satellite caucuses, which is a good purpose… one of the problems that you have with a caucus that takes place at 7:00 in an evening. Well, what happens is if you’re a working person, what happens if you’re a mom who has two kids and you can’t come out to a caucus. And what I think the Iowa Democratic Party tried to do correctly is to say, “Okay, if you can’t come out, if you’re a student in a night class, we will provide you an opportunity to vote.” And most of the people I think who voted are working class people. And you’re right, we did very, very well in those satellite caucuses and I’m proud of that victory there. Okay. Yep.
Speaker 7: (08:37)
How are you. Joe Biden said yesterday that Donald Trump is desperate to pin the socialists label on our party. Why are you so certain that your own self identification as a democratic socialist won’t have serious blow back in November?
Bernie Sanders: (08:49)
Let me tell my good friend, Joe, that when we’re dealing with somebody like Donald Trump, who lies all of the time, he will pin any label that he wants on any candidate. It doesn’t really matter. But I think the agenda that we have is the agenda that speaks to the working families of this country.
Bernie Sanders: (09:11)
Let me tell you something else. We will expose Trump, not only for the liar, pathological liar that he is, but for the fraud, that is total fraud. And this is a man, as all of you know, who spends half his life demonizing the undocumented in this country. Oh, he just hates the undocumented, how terrible it is. And yet, as a private businessman, he hired quite knowledgeably, hundreds and hundreds of undocumented workers in his resorts and in construction projects so he could save money. This is the guy who says, “Oh, I hate outsourcing. We got to make sure that corporations create jobs here in the United States, not go to cheap labor countries abroad.” This is a businessman who manufactured his products in low wage countries abroad, in Turkey, in China, and in other low wage countries. He is a fraud. He is a liar. And we will expose him for what he is.
Bernie Sanders: (10:13)
This is a man who during his campaign, he said, “My tax plan, it’s going to not benefit the wealthy, it’s going to benefit working families.” 83% of the benefits of his tax plan have gone to the top 1% over a 10 year period, and we end up with the absurdity of companies like Amazon, which made $10 billion in profit last year, last year. They’re not paying a nickel in federal income taxes. So we will have an opportunity during this campaign to expose Trump, not only as a liar, but as a fraud. Yes, ma’am
Speaker 8: (10:47)
Senator. Thank you, Senator Sanders. So Michael Bloomberg is skipping early states. There’ll be a debate tomorrow night. He won’t be on the stage. Do you think it’s fair that the Democratic Party altered or revised the rules to put him-
Bernie Sanders: (11:02)
Speaker 8: (11:02)
… wait, wait. Let me at least put the question all the way out-
Bernie Sanders: (11:04)
Just give me the answer right?
Speaker 8: (11:05)
… even though you know where I’m going.
Bernie Sanders: (11:06)
We want to answer the question.
Speaker 8: (11:07)
You know where I’m going. Do you think it’s fair that the rules are now allowing Michael Bloomberg to come in and I’m looking at you as I see your slogan there, Bernie, not the billionaire. So could you comment also on the rules-
Bernie Sanders: (11:22)
It’s billionaires. Do we have an S at the end.
Speaker 8: (11:23)
You have an S.
Bernie Sanders: (11:23)
Speaker 8: (11:24)
So could you comment not only on the debate, but on the even more money that Bloomberg is putting in the contest?
Bernie Sanders: (11:30)
Speaker 8: (11:30)
Bernie Sanders: (11:32)
Yes. Thank you for the question. And I knew what the question is. I was going to answer it the same way.
Speaker 8: (11:34)
Well you got to make sure though.
Bernie Sanders: (11:35)
Okay. No, I think it is an outrage. Look, rules are rules and people like Julian Castro played by the rules, campaigned really hard. Cory Booker played by the rules. Tulsi Gabbard played by the rules. Andrew Yang played by the rules. They were here in New Hampshire. They were in Iowa. They have work really, really hard, and for… based on the rules determined by the DNC, they were unable to participate in one or more debates.
Bernie Sanders: (12:10)
And now suddenly a guy comes in who does not campaign one bit in Iowa, New Hampshire. He’s not on the ballot, I guess, in Nevada or South Carolina, but he’s worth $55 billion and I guess if you’re worth $55 billion, you can get the rules changed for a debate. So to answer your question, I think that that is an absolute outrage and really unfair. And I say this because these other guys on my friends, the people like Cory Booker or Julian Castro or Tulsi Gabbard who work really, really hard, they were excluded, but they’re not multi-billionaires. That’s wrong.
Speaker 2: (12:47)
Speaker 9: (12:47)
Senator do you have confidence in-
Bernie Sanders: (12:48)
Speaker 10: (12:50)
Bernie Sanders: (12:50)
We’ll see how the first one goes.
Speaker 10: (12:56)
A lot of Democrats are going to hear what you’re saying this morning, members who are actually, or people who actually are members of the Democratic Party and will say, “Why not wait? Why not let Iowa finish counting first before declaring victory?” Aren’t you confusing the process by doing so?
Bernie Sanders: (13:08)
Well, I would hope given the fact that we have waited three days and now there is a talk of another recount, maybe we might want the decisions of the Iowa caucus before the November election, but I think what is very clear, two points, it is what is not going to change is that we won a very significant victory in the popular vote. We won a very significant victory in the realignment vote. And if you go out on the streets to New Hampshire, you go to Vermont and you ask people, “How do you determine who wins an election?” Well, from where I come from and where everybody else comes from, the person who gets the most votes wins. We got the most votes.
Bernie Sanders: (13:50)
And as I said before, and I got to say this to my friends in the media, is you guys have been putting too much emphasis on these SDEs. There’s a confusion that SDEs will determine the number on national delegates. National delegates are important. SDEs do not determine they determine who the party chair is, the rules of the Iowa Democratic Party.
Bernie Sanders: (14:16)
So as I said earlier, I think in terms of the basic question are coming out of Iowa, how many delegates do we have? How many delegates does Elizabeth have? How many delegates does Buttigieg? That is not determined by these SDEs. So I think it is fair to say that we won the caucus.
Speaker 10: (14:33)
And was there something specific you’d… you talk about a multi-racial grassroots movement in Iowa. Was there something specific you did an Iowa, either targeting certain community or certain part of the state that you anticipate doing again down the road-
Bernie Sanders: (14:48)
Speaker 10: (14:48)
… in any other states?
Bernie Sanders: (14:50)
Look at the whole thrust of what our campaign is about is to understand that in America we have one of the lowest voter turnouts of any major country on earth. That’s what we do. And the reason for that are many fold. One of them is that a whole lot of working class people here in New Hampshire, Vermont, all over this country, they’re working two or three jobs. They can’t afford childcare. They spend that half of their income in housing. They can’t afford to send their kids to college and they are saying, “Who is concerned about me? I turn on the TV on a year old is blah blah. Is anybody worrying about me and I’m going to retire at 65 and I don’t have anything in the bank for retirement. Anyone worried about me or is it just the billionaires and the wealthy who determine what goes on in Washington?” A lot of those people say it’s all nonsense. We’re not going to vote. What do I want to waste my vote? The whole system is so corrupt.
Bernie Sanders: (15:46)
And the essence of our campaign is to talk to those people, to knock on those doors, the doors of black voters and white voters and Latino voters and Asian American and Latino and Native American voters and to say, “You know what? If we all stand together, yeah, we can take on the billionaire class, which now dominates what goes on in Washington, both politically and from an economic perspective. Yeah, we can create an economy and a government that works for all of us.” Okay. Yes ma’am.
Speaker 11: (16:23)
Hi. Based on these inconsistency is that we’re seeing in the results and because this is the first time that we’ve had the popular vote results, does this make you question the results of the 2016 Iowa caucuses and do you think that there should be a caucus system at all?
Bernie Sanders: (16:39)
That’s a good question. I don’t want to revisit 2016. All I can say is you’re right. We fought for… by the way, the fact that we now have clear results of the popular vote is something that we fought for. That did not exist in 2016. Now, I can’t give you a definitive answer as to what happened in 2016. I don’t know. I don’t think anybody knows. It turned out that in 2016 I think Secretary Clinton got one or two more delegates than we got in the state process. There is some supposition that we actually won the popular vote. I can’t say that definitively.
Bernie Sanders: (17:17)
I can say definitively that in 2020 we did win the popular vote and I want to reiterate to you, so we’re clear. You’ve got 180,000 people voting. When you got eight candidates, when you win the popular vote by 6,000 votes, that is a pretty good victory. Yeah. Yeah. Yes.
Speaker 12: (17:39)
You’ve said the process in Iowa should not repeat itself and do you think the caucus itself should remain first?
Bernie Sanders: (17:47)
I think it depends on how you do it, but the Iowa caucus is just much, much, much too complicated. I mean, on one hand, you’ve got to determine the popular vote. That you’ve got to do. If you want to talk about realignment and you could make the argument. You can make the argument, okay, what happens if somebody doesn’t get 15%, should those people have an option to go elsewhere? You can make that argument.
Bernie Sanders: (18:06)
But then when you get into calculating these SDEs, man, that is enormously complicated. I mean, the answer is what I just told you what I believe to be the case, maybe it’s not. I do believe it to be the case. We’re going to win by 6,000 votes. We will end up with the same number of delegates to the Democratic National Convention as will Mr. Buttigieg. Does that sound right? In a certain sense, it doesn’t sound right. One would think that if you win pretty good victory in the popular vote, you would get more national delegates. It’s a complicated formula and kind of… and so forth. So what will not happen again, if I have anything to say about it, is a caucus this complicated. That will not happen again. Yes, ma’am. Okay. Maybe one more question. Yes ma’am.
Speaker 13: (18:53)
Thank you. Senator, a key part of your argument for the general election, your electability is that you’re going to boost turnout by bringing all these people into the process that haven’t been voting. Iowa turnout doesn’t look like it was higher than last time. Does that concern you?
Bernie Sanders: (19:07)
It does and I would have liked to have seen a higher turnout and I think I can probably speak for every other candidate. But this is what I do want to say. I want to say where I am very excited and what I think bodes well for the overall 2020 election and that is that last year, in 2016 in the Iowa caucus in terms of voters who young people from 17 to 29, 18% of the total vote, 18% was under 29. This election, 24%. That was a very significant, very significant increase in young people participating in the Iowa caucus. And actually as I understand it, it turns out to be even higher percentage wise than the turnout of young people in 2008, when there was a massive turnout and Obama won. So that does give me a lot of optimism.
Bernie Sanders: (20:07)
I believe as I have said many times that the young people of this country, the younger generation is the most progressive young generation in the modern history of this country. And to defeat Trump, we are going to have to mobilize young people who are concerned deeply about climate change. They’re concerned deeply about racism and sexism and homophobia and xenophobia. They are concerned and very worried about the kind of student debt that they are carrying. They’re worried about the cost of housing. If we can mobilize, and Iowa is a good start in that process, if we can mobilize, bring young people into the political process, I think it will have a very positive and profound impact on the general election. Thank you all very much.