Bernie Sanders officially launched his presidential campaign on May 26th in Burlington, Vermont. Rolling Stone was there, visiting with Sanders at his home and capturing Team Bernie’s initial campaign stops for our first short documentary of the 2016 campaigns.
“We’re going to win. . .by establishing a very strong grassroots campaign involving millions of people. That’s the only way to win,” the Independent candidate told Rolling Stone before his launch event.
Several issues and themes emerged on the trail.
Election spending: “American democracy is not about billionaires like the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson being prepared to spend more money in this election cycle than either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. When you have one family buying the political process of America, that’s not called democracy, that is called oligarchy, and we’re not going to allow that,” he told supporters at a church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Sanders told Rolling Stone that more than 120,000 people have contributed to his campaign via his website so far, with an average contribution of $40 each.
Income inequality: “There’s something fundamentally wrong when the great middle class of this country disappears, and virtually all of the income and all of the wealth is going to the top 0.1 percent, or 1 percent,” Sanders told Rolling Stone.
Education: “Young people have given up the dream of going to college, simply because they can’t afford it. As president, I will make this legislation into law [that] says that every public college and public university in this country will be tuition-free,” he told a crowd at New England College in Concord, New Hampshire.
Hillary Clinton: Supporters expressed both that “it’s kind of a long shot, maybe, for him to actually be elected president” and that Sanders could give Clinton a run for her money, so to speak. “Why can’t we ask Hillary to give up her spot and give it to you?” a supporter in Concord asked the candidate, to cheers from the audience.
“I could be wrong,” Sanders said, “but I suspect she’d disagree.”