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Sanders Highlights American Struggles in Fierce SOTU Response

Screen shot / YouTube

Beginning his speech by congratulating Stacey Abrams for delivering a strong response to President Trump’s State of the Union address on behalf of the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders quickly delved into all the things Trump got wrong about the economy, infrastructure, health care, immigration and more in his own response delivered online.

The nearly 30-minute speech was watched by tens of thousands on YouTube alone, where commenters filled the page with comments such as “Bernie 2020” and “Feel the Bern” and expressed their support for progressive policies supported by the Vermont senator such as “Medicare-for-all” and the “Green New Deal.”

Here are some of the highlights of his speech, followed by the full video below:

“Trump said tonight, ‘We are born free, and we will stay free.’ Well, I say to President Trump: People are not truly free when they can’t afford to go to the doctor when they are sick. They are not truly free when they cannot afford to buy the prescription drugs they so desperately need. People are not truly free when they are exhausted because they are working longer and longer hours for lower wages.

“People are not truly free when they cannot afford a decent place in which to live. People certainly are not free when they cannot afford to feed their families.”

“For many of President Trump’s billionaire friends, the truth is, they have never, ever had it so good. But for the middle class and the working families of our country, the truth is that the economy is not so great.”

“[Trump’s] demonization of latinos is nothing less than racist, it is wrong and it also happens to be factually inaccurate. Undocumented latino immigrants commit fewer crimes in the United States than the general public.”

“How could the president Trump not mention the words Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, in a State of the Union speech when he promised over and over again during his campaign … that he would not cut these programs? Could it be because his budget proposed massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security in direct violation of his campaign pledge?”

“When you’re president, you bring our people together. But in an unprecedented way, that is not what this president is doing. In fact, he is trying to divide us up; he is trying to have one group turn against another group. And that is certainly not what this country is supposed to be about.”

Sanders provided viewers with the results of a spate of polls that highlight massive American support for affordable prescription drugs and health care, infrastructure spending that would create jobs, background checks on gun purchases, the legalization of marijuana, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, more regulation of Wall Street, a significant increase in the minimum wage and government-paid college tuition. The Vermont senator goes on to say that the reason that Congress isn’t doing what the “overwhelming majority of Americans” want has “everything to do with the power of the monied interests.”

“Let us bring our people together,” concludes Sanders, “to take on and defeat a ruling class whose greed is destroying our nation. The billionaire class must learn that they cannot have it all. Our government belongs to each and every one of us, not just the few.

“Let us create the kind of America we know we can become.”

Natasha Hakimi Zapata
Assistant Editor / Poetry Editor
Natasha Hakimi Zapata holds a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Boston University and both a B.A. in Spanish and a B.A. in English with a creative writing concentration from the University of California, Los…
Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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