Home National Politics If I Were Bernie, Here’s the Speech I’d Give Now

If I Were Bernie, Here’s the Speech I’d Give Now


Democratic voters have a choice between two candidates. Which candidate is the better choice depends on what you think is possible for us to achieve.

If you think we are stuck with the power system we have — in which moneyed interests take over the American democracy and get to call more and more of the shots, and where politicians can be rewarded rather than punished for betraying the American people — Secretary Clinton is an admirable choice. She is intelligent, hard-working, and has shown over many years a concern for the well-being of American families.

She has pledged that, if she is elected president, she will work with the system as it is to work toward many of the same goals that have also inspired me to run.

Like me, she wants for Americans to have health care coverage, just as the citizens of every other advanced society do.

But she thinks that the health insurance companies and Big Pharma will inevitably have veto power over what kind of health insurance system we can have in the United States, and that there’s nothing we can do about that.

I believe that together, we the people can regain the power to make those choices that are best for America.

Like me, Secretary Clinton wants for our country to respond to the challenge of climate change.

But she thinks our responses have to take into account the enormous political power the fossil fuel companies now have. Which is probably why it took her so long to oppose the terribly ill-advised Keystone pipeline project.

I believe that together, we the people can overcome that corporate choke-hold on our progress.

Like me, Hillary is concerned with how wealth and income in America are being transferred from the distressed middle class to the very richest and to the corporate system.

But she believes that we have to accept as given that corporate power gets to choose our economic arrangements even if they hurt America’s working families. And that probably explains why she came only lately to oppose the TPP trade agreement which, the American people should understand, represents a power grab by corporate America.

I believe that, together, we can create a political revolution that ends this rigged economy, making our economic system serve all Americans, not just the billionaire class and the corporate system.

Like me, she recognizes that – to accomplish anything – we have to deal with the determination of the Republicans now controlling Congress to block anything that a Democratic president tries to accomplish.

But she apparently accepts as a given that the Republicans can practice this kind of across-the-board obstructionism without paying the political price such behavior deserves. And that’s why, I believe, she speaks about “reaching across the aisle” – even though President Obama has reached across that aisle time and again, only to get his hand bitten by Republicans who had no interest whatever in working with him to find good solutions for America.

I believe that we do not have to accept this unacceptable Republican obstructionism and that, by calling out this destructive Republican conduct, we can together compel this Republican Party to choose between becoming again the constructive conservative party America needs, or having its power taken away by the American people.

Like me, Secretary Clinton wants to rescue our democracy from the corrupting influence of Big Money and, in particular, to overturn that terrible Supreme Court decision, Citizens United.

But Citizens United can only be overturned by a constitutional amendment. And there’s no way that any such amendment can be passed in the absence of a political revolution of the kind that Ms. Clinton says is impossible.

I believe that, together, we can create such a political revolution, and that now is the time to do it.

I have been involved in politics my whole adult life. But never did I think I would make a serious run for the presidency—not until the past couple of years. Not until I saw how we are fast losing our democracy, how we are already far along the road of being governed by the Money Power, and how urgent it is that we take back the people’s government. We have no time to lose!

I decided to run because I understood that establishment politics – which accepts the status quo of the distribution of power in America today — could never reverse course and hand back power to the American people.

I understood that nothing short of a political revolution – the American people coming together, organizing, and acting with the tools we still have in our democratic system – could turn around this movement from democracy toward oligarchy.

I understood that what our founders had in mind when they said “all men are created equal” and spoke of “the consent of the governed” – that the great American principles of “one person, one vote” and government not just of the people but by and for the people as well – could be restored in letter and in spirit only if the American people rise up and demand it.

I am running to provide the American people the vehicle to do just that.

But if you believe that such a thing is impossible, then it makes sense for you to vote for Secretary Clinton.

She is indeed, as she says, tested and prepared. Tested by being the target for decades of vicious attacks from her right-wing enemies. She’s shown herself to be tough and resilient. Prepared by spending those same decades in political life, occupying various important roles—including First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State.

She would probably do as good a job of working for the American people within the status quo in the political arena as anyone could.

But if you do decide that the political revolution I’m talking about is impossible, I deeply believe that you should also recognize that you are probably helping to consign us to a future in which

  • power will not be restored to the American people where it belongs;
  • we will not be able to move America vigorously and creatively into a new energy future to meet the challenge of climate change;
  • we will not be able to achieve what other advanced societies have achieved—a health care system that delivers world-class health care at half what we’re paying now for one that doesn’t even rank in the top 20;
  • we will not be able to restore the balance we once had between the power of workers and the power of the giant corporations that employ them;
  • we will not be able to compel today’s Republican Party to become the constructive conservative party America needs for it to be;
  • we will not be able to unstack the deck that consigns average Americans to stagnant or falling wages, even as the economy grows;
  • we will not be able to restore the American dream, in which each generation can have it better than its parents.

That is why the political revolution I speak of is so necessary. And I am running for president because I do believe it is also still possible.

That is why I am asking for your vote, to make me your nominee for president, so that – together – we can achieve it.


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