Bernie Sanders to Supporters: Run for Office, Keep Progressive Agenda Alive

On June 16, 2016, Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders  spoke to  his supporters for 25 minutes. Since I have been and am a supporter, I signed up, and took notes on the speech, the important points of which are summarized below. A video link is also included at the bottom of the page.

Screenshot of Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders speech to supporters, screenshot 6/16/16

Most of Bernie’s speech was a list of what progressive Democrats want and fought for, what we want our country to be and to do. As such, there are few surprises in the list.These are not “demands”, as we used to say in the 70s. These are the prerequisites for social and economic justice.

I didn’t expect, but was delighted by, Bernie’s call for his supporters to run for local political office: school boards, county commissioners, entry-level offices, however we can get our feet in the door. I applaud this and agree strongly. That is what it will take for real change. From the bottom up -that’s how change happens. As expected, Sanders called for the party to unify to defeat Donald Trump. He has pledged to support this effort, and will do so.

UPDATE: 6700 people responded to Bernie’s call for public service. Per, “The 6,685 supporters who expressed interest in running cover 51 percent of state house districts, 69 percent of state senate districts and every congressional district in the country.”

He called for his 1900 delegates to come in to the convention to create the most progressive platform in Democratic history, and to act on it. He called for a 50 state strategy – decrying the lack of support for Democratic candidates,  allowing right wingers to take red state governments unopposed.

He called for the Democratic National Committee to open its doors, welcome young people and working people. He called for the DNC to embrace a $15 / hour wage. He called for a party which has “the guts” to take on the pharmaceutical and fossil fuel industries. He called for stopping the  Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) –  it should not come to a vote during a lame duck session of Congress, he said. These are positions which sharply differentiate his policies from those of Hillary Clinton.

What Bernie did not say was more surprising:

  • He did not “concede” defeat in the primary election, although that was implied.
  • He did not endorse Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, although he emphasized that they have much more in common than not.
  • He included very little on foreign policy – only in points 29 and 30 below did he allude to the Department of Defense and wars abroad, and only to emphasize cutting waste in the DoD, and not to spend young people’s lives in unnecessary wars. This was primarily a domestic policy speech.
  • He didn’t talk about the drug war or marijuana legalization, although he criticized the prison industry and school-to-prison pipeline in point 27.
  • He did not call for an end to superdelegates, lobbyist contributions to the DNC. He did not say what his negotiations with rules committee would be. He did not mention today’s big news that unpopular chairwomanDebbie Wasserman Schultz is stepping aside as party chair to allow Brandon Davis to take over operations.
  • He did not mention the numerous allegations of fraud and voter suppression in the Democratic primary.


Here’s what the man did say:
1.    The revolution continues – like every movement for social change, civil rights, etc.
2.    In every state, we won the overwhelming majority of those under 45.
3.    We are mainstream, not a fringe movement.  Numbers. 12 million votes, 22 states, Stats on contributions, 75 million phone calls, 5 million doors, 740,000 meetings, etc. Showed that we could run a national campaign without big money contributions. Bulk of contributions came from low income and working people.
4.    In every state, we took on the entire political establishment. Senators, Reps, Governors, elected officials.
5.   6:35  This campaign has never been about any single candidate .
6.    It’s about ending income inequality. It’s about ending corrupt campaign finance by corporations. Creating an economy for all of us, not just the 1%.
7.    Ending status quo: Native American reservation low life expectancy, lower than 3rd world countries. Millions of Americans dying at a younger age than their parents: suicide, drugs, alcohol, highest rate of childhood poverty of any industrialized country on earth. Ending the disgrace, undocumented people exploited on their jobs.
8.    Tens of thousands of Americans dying every year from preventable diseases, because lack health insurance, high deductibles, costly drugs.
9.    Young single mom in Nevada in tears, asking on $10/hr, How can we make it ? Millions like her.
10.    Mom in Flint, Mich. Excessive lead in water, stunted intellectual development of her child. Thousands of CA homes can’t drink tap water.
11.    Homelessness is increasing.  veterans in streets – lack of affordable housing.
12.    Corporations avoid paying a nickel in Federal taxes, stash in tax havens.
13.    6:40 Priority this year is defeating Donald Trump. Makes bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign.  Trump wants to give hundreds of B of $ in tax breaks to very rich, is a climate change denier.
14.    Major political task: Defeat Trump, badly. My role in that process will begin soon. But can’t be our only goal. Must continue grassroots  movement.
15.    Must take our energy in to the Dem convention in Philly with >1900 delegates. I met with Sec. Clinton.
16.    No secret HRC and I have strong disagreements, on important issues but agree on others.
17.    I will make sure that your voices are heard. Democrats will pass the most progressive platform in its history and that we actually fight for that agenda.
18.    I look forward to working with Sec. Clinton to form aparty that has the guts to take on the Pharma, Fossil Fuel industries, others.
19.    Dem party must support raising Fed. minimum wage to $15 / hr.  women .79 / vs men $1. Women must have right to control own bodies. Protect right to gay marriage.
20.    As Orlando has made clear, Ban sale and distribution of assault weapons, gun show loophole, and have instant background checks.
21.    Stop the TPP, must not come to the floor in a lame duck session.
22.    Expand Social security, not cut it.
23.    Greed, recklessness of Wall st must end. Pass a modern Glass Steagal. No more “too big to fail”.
24.    Aggressively combat climate change, impose a tax on carbon. Must protect our water supply by banning fracking.
25.    To compete effectively globally, Make public colleges tuition free reduce student debt.
26.    Join rest of industrialized world – Health care a right, not a privilege
27.    Stop incarcerating more people than any other country – Rein in prison industry, criminal justice reform.
28.    Comprehensive immigration reform for 11 M undocumented people.
29.    Cut waste in every department including Department of Defense.
30.    Can’t keep throwing young people into perpetual unnecessary wars.
31.    6:47 Revolution means more than Fight for our ideals, defeat D Trump. At every level continue to fight for our nation to be just. Current DNC leadership has turned its back on dozens of states, like red states, allowed right wing to run unopposed, we need a 50 state strategy. Must provide resources to ignored and poor states.
32.    Leadership, DNC must open its doors, welcome working people and young people. That is the energy we need to transform the Democratic party and our country. Cold hard fact. Since 2009, some 900 legislative seats have been lost to Republicans.  We must Start engaging at local and state level in unprecedented way.
33.    Young people deeply concerned about country and community. Start running for office! School boards, commissioners, whatever! Be prepared to engage at that level.
34.    6:50 With energy and enthusiasm our campaign has shown, we can win significant numbers of offices at down ticket level. We need new blood. You are that new blood.
35.    Government is not the enemy.(what Republicans say). I disagree. Government must protect us and our planet. But we need to attract dedicated people from all walks of life to run for office.
36.    Tens of thousands of new Dr.s, medical personnel, where people lack care.
37.    We need child care workers, teachers.
38.    We need scientists, engineers, entrepeneurs to work for renewables, efficient and cost effective as possible. Construction.
39.    Business people who respect employees and environment.
40.    Conclude: we have begun the long and arduous process of transforming America. My hope is that when historians look back and find when we began reversing the trend towards oligarchy. They see that the political revolution began in 2016. 6:53. Dark screen.

Version 1 of this diary posted at

Video available here and here

Full transcript of Sanders’ speech from Burlington Free Press

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About kwtree

Retired teacher, aspiring writer, doting grandma. Nosy, curious, persistent.

14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Duke Cox says:

    Thanks for that, Mama. The challenges are daunting, but I know what can be accomplished when we all put aside our differences and work together. We can change the world…we have done it before…..

  2. Duke Cox says:

    And he focused on the policy goals he hopes to see Democrats embrace, from a $15 minimum wage to a reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Wall Street reform law. 

    I picked up this statement from other coverage of the speech. He might get that first one. What is the likelihood that Hillary will embrace the second?

    • mamajama55 says:

      She's not going to ever reinstate Glass-Steagal. She claims to have a more rigorous financial plan to rein in Wall Street excesses. I'm not financially literate enough to evaluate its merits, but some have said it doesn't go far enough.

      Rob Berger in Forbes:

      What’s most fascinating about Clinton’s op-ed, however, has little to do with her specific proposals. The goal of her op-ed, it seems to me, was two-fold:

      1. To position President Obama as a strong economic leader; and

      2. To appear tough on Wall Street


      • Duke Cox says:

        Yeah…as I suspected. The stranglehold Wall Street has on Washington DC is truly breathtaking in its scope. 

      • Pseudonymous says:

        There's a good article on this at the Washington Post from back in January.

        In essence, Clinton's approach is to be more "enforcey" with existing regulations, and to essentially tax risky behavior.  Sanders' approach is more fundamental, in that he would change the conditions under which the financial system operates by breaking banks back out of the economic casino.

        I don't see Clinton's plan having much of an impact as (1) financial institutions already largely control policymaking in this area through payments to office holders and capture of regulatory agencies; (2) taxing risk may change the math on pros and cons of certain actions but, even accounting for the tax, risky actions might still present more upside than non-risky ones especially when the actors know they can't be allowed to lose too much; (3) We didn't end up bailing out only the "taxpayer-backed money" that the Volcker rule, which Clinton plans to use as a check on the banks, purports to protect, the costs vastly outweighed the government's actual commitments made prior to the crash; (4) it does nothing to insulate the larger economy from the nonsense that goes on at these financial institutions (and continues to this day).

        Having said that, though, Clinton’s plan could be executed in a way that results in the important reforms we need. For example, I believe she allows for breaking up TBTF banks, although she doesn’t require it, and some generous interpretation by her team might let that policy result in breaking up banks that can’t pass stress tests or don’t have “living wills.”

      • BlueCat says:

        She isn't the one who can reinstate it anyway. Neither could a President Bernie. We can only achieve that by building more support in congress.

        It would take cycles worth of wins to achieve a congress that could accomplish that, a good project for Bernie's movement going forward. Maybe Bernie can achieve what other Dem leaders have not… inspiring young voters to see how urgently important it is to vote, to vote all the way down ticket and in every election, not just the presidential year elections. If anyone can convince them that they really are in a position to make a difference, he's the one. They already have.

        • Duke Cox says:

          She isn't the one who can reinstate it anyway. 

          Fully understood, BC. Without a commitment from the occupant of the White House, however, nothing meaningful is like to ever change on that issue. 

          • BlueCat says:

            Not if enough pressure is brought to bear, though I agree that achieving a congress that would reinstate, whether under HRC or Bernie or anyone else, is a tall order. But HRC is a politician and has changed positions in the past, including the very recent past, when it becomes clear the political advantage lies in that direction. So, of course, is Bernie, who has made adjustments to his positions on various gun control proposals as a presidential candidate rather than as Senator from Vermont. It's what pols do.

            I find it useful to keep in mind that pols are pols, some much more principled, some much less, covering a wide range but with none in the unsullied pure of heart knight on a white horse range. That's just not the type of person who succeeds in politics. 

          • Voyageur says:

            If we reinstate glass Steagall, let's bring back other depression relics like Dance marathons and Model A Fords — all equally useless in regulating the modern financial system,  Like Barney Frank and Paul Krugman — indeed., largely because of them — I want a regulatory system focused on leverage and reserves, not an incantation of 30s style rhetoric so beloved by the Occupy Illiterates.

  3. BlueCat says:

    It was a good speech and seems to me to make clear that he will support HRC against Trump but only after he has the opportunity to take his power to the convention. That's a smart decision. Also that he plans, now that he has joined the Dem Party for this run, to continue to be a force for change within the party, rather than moving to a gadfly from the outside role. At least I hope I'm reading that right because that's how he can best retain his and his movement's power.

    Good stuff. Not surprised by lack of much foreign policy. Never his strong suit or even close to his primary area of interest. He's a domestic policy guy. Early on it seemed clear he wouldn't be a good choice for Commander in Chief. Have long thought that the role for himself and his troops that he appears to be laying the groundwork for in this speech is where he can do the most good for the party and the country.   

    DWS wouldn't be stepping aside so abruptly before the completion of this election cycle (after up to the moment of the announcement assurances that she would do no such thing) if Bernie Sanders wasn't part of the equation whether he chose to mention it or not. Perhaps the omission, as well as the omission of fraud allegations, are among the signals in this address (there are others) of the start of the shift to the general election unification stage. He's steering a big (yuuge) ship and I think he's doing a good job of making the turn in a way calculated to best retain his influence and his troops.

    Very fine diary, mama.

  4. BlueCat says:

    More on the DWS step away from day to day operations. Yes, it's not the concession Bernie was looking for and is more about Team HRC taking over. But the tepid response to the question of how long DWS should remain as Chair does seem to show a preparing of the way for her ouster.

    I'm also hearing talking heads going on about why doesn't Bernie concede now, he's losing his influence, etc. I don't see it that way. They still want his army, he wants to preserve an important role at the convention so he can't risk losing influence with and cohesion among his Bernistas which is what would have happened had he rolled over a month ago. All those young believers would have faded away in disgust with a Bernie who was quitting on them to support HRC at that point. He has to take time to bring them along. 

    He needs to handle the winding down of his campaign in such a way that his supporters do stay with him or else HRC and the DNC really won't need him. He's no good to them without his following.  He's a tremendous asset with his following.

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