Government

Bernie Sanders returns to Iowa Friday to continue his 'political revolution'

Former presidential candidate holds rally Friday in Cedar Rapids

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) speaks during a book tour Aug. 31, 2017, for his newly released book “Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution” at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) speaks during a book tour Aug. 31, 2017, for his newly released book “Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution” at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Bernie Sanders has no doubt the Democratic Party is moving in a more progressive direction, thanks in large part to his unsuccessful presidential campaign.

“It would be hard to argue that the Democratic Party is not moving to a more progressive direction, is not beginning to address the issues working people are struggling with,” the independent senator from Vermont said during phone call this week.

So while he didn’t get the Democratic presidential nomination and win the presidency, Sanders, 76, believes he and the people who answered his call for political revolution have changed the course of the party.

“We ended up writing the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party,” said Sanders, who will bring the current iteration of that revolution to Cedar Rapids with a 7 p.m. Friday rally at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 50 Second Ave. Bridge.

That platform set the agenda for discussions of Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, paid family leave, pay equity for women, tuition-free college and medical marijuana that are unfolding in Congress and legislatures.

Sander laughed before answering when asked if that means he won.

“In terms of the battle of ideas, yes, we did win,” said the self-described democratic socialist.

“What we were able to show was that people throughout this country are sick and tired of working longer hours for low wages while seeing almost all of the new income go to the top 1 percent,” Sanders said. “They are unhappy about seeing their kids potentially having a lower standard of living than they did. In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, that should not be happening.”

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His campaign raised the nation’s consciousness on those issues. Now he’s working with the Not One Penny campaign, touring the country to call for repeal of the GOP’s federal tax cuts. There’s not likely to happen until Democrats take control of Congress, Sanders conceded.

“So this meeting is not just to talk about Republican tax legislation, but the fact it is insane to give tax breaks to billionaires and have Speaker Paul Ryan talking about cutting Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and education,” Sanders said. “Those are not the priorities of the American people.”

The point, he said, “is to get people involved in the political process and demand change in national priorities.”

Registration for the rally is available on Eventbrite.com. From the home page, search “this week” for Bernie Sanders.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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