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Burkitt writes: "Once someone stands up and fights for an unpopular idea, Sanders said, 'more and more people start thinking about it, and then it makes sense.'"

Bernie Sanders. (photo: AP)
Bernie Sanders. (photo: AP)

Bernie Sanders: "People Said My Ideas Were Too Radical, but Now Look All Over the Country"

By Bree Burkitt, The Republic

12 March 18


ernie Sanders returned to Arizona on Sunday, highlighting the delayed successes his 2016 presidential run secured for the Democratic Party and urging voters in the predominantly red state to keep fighting for change.

The 76-year-old independent senator from Vermont rallied supporters — and riled opponents — alongside Democratic Arizona Congressmen Ruben Gallego and Raúl Grijalva at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix.

The self-described democratic socialist has maintained a following among liberal Democrats in the nearly two years since he dropped out of the presidential race. He drew a young and diverse crowd Sunday, filling the 1,200-capacity theater.

"People said my ideas were too radical, but now look all over the country," Sanders said, pointing to the uptick in states proposing higher minimum wages and decriminalizing marijuana. He also mentioned the $1 trillion infrastructure plan unveiled by Democrats last week.

Once someone stands up and fights for an unpopular idea, he said, "more and more people start thinking about it, and then it makes sense."

'You are not alone'

Sanders paused to praise U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in July. He described McCain as a man of dignity, courage and decency, wishing him "the best of luck in his struggle" despite their drastically different political views.

He was harder on other Arizona leaders, expressing frustration with the long wait times many voters faced when attempting to cast their ballot in the 2016 presidential primary.

"To the Arizona officials, whether they did this intentionally or not… (It) was a disgrace to democracy," he said. "People should not have to wait seven hours in order to vote."

Sanders encouraged Arizona educators — some of the lowest-paid in the nation — to follow the lead of the 20,000 West Virginia teachers who went on strike for nine days, demanding a raise. Last Wednesday, Arizona teachers wore red to school to protest the low pay they say has exacerbated the state's critical shortage of qualified teachers.

The West Virginia strike ended last week when the state's Republican-run Legislature unanimously passed legislation approving a 5 percent raise for teachers and state employees.

"They stood up for education, they stopped the whole system and they won," Sanders said. 

Sanders also weighed in on immigration, pledging to find a solution that would provide legal status to the roughly 700,000 immigrants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. The future of the program, which offered deportation protections for migrants whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally as children, remains uncertain. 

"I want to say to (DACA recipients) here in Arizona: If you think you're alone, you're not alone," he said. "Poll after poll shows 80 percent or more want to provide legal status to DACA and a path to citizenship."

Immigration comments rile protesters

Protesters made themselves known throughout the rally, chanting "Build the wall!" when immigration was mentioned and booing negative comments made about President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Police escorted out at least 10 protesters clad in red "Make America Great Again" hats as they clutched signs depicting Trump.

A handful of protesters also gathered outside of the theater after the rally. Phoenix police took precautions to keep opposing groups separated, using barricades to prevent those leaving the event from passing by the protesters.

Sanders wasn't fazed by the hecklers. He stayed focused on firing up support for progressive priorities, including increasing the minimum wage to a "livable" wage of $15 per hour, securing equal pay for women and shifting the national political agenda from benefiting billionaires to working families.

Sanders gave no hints about whether he was eyeing a 2020 presidential run, nor did he publicly endorse any Arizona candidates running for office.

But he was clearly focused on the future: "Brothers and sisters, change is coming all over America," he said. your social media marketing partner


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+78 # PCPrincess 2018-03-12 11:40
Bless Bernie. May we both live to see him as our President.
+5 # Robbee 2018-03-12 16:41
Quoting PCPrincess:
Bless Bernie. May we both live to see him as our President.

- beg your pardon but robbee has much higher ambition for bernie, than becoming prez! - a modest gosl considering gernie's ambitious, progressive mission for change, some would call, with some good reason -"radical" -

PREZ ALONE could mean that NONE of bernie's landmark goals got won?

before bernie or jane die, as he does, i want US, you and i, to achieve at least one of bernie's and jane's goals! ! - any one or more of the following -

1. single-payer healthcare for all
2. renew glass-geagal bank law
3. reverse "citicens united" for bmillionaires
4. free college for all who can handle it
5. a living, minimum wage
6. world peace
7. a 2-state solution in palestine
8. taxing billionaires at rates higher than their secretaries
9. unrigging the civil justice system
10. unrigging the criminal justice system
11. public fundding of elections
12. justice for immigrants
13. etc., etccc.

can robbee be any clearer than to say that accomplishing any one or more of these goals are sure to make bernie and jane happier than
+5 # angelfish 2018-03-12 19:20
No, Princess. May we ALL live to see him as our President!
-26 # katela 2018-03-12 13:25
Screw Bernie Sanders. His knowing defaming of Hillary Clinton is the reason Trump is in the WH. He convinced his cult she was a crook, when he knew better, and they just couldn't bring themselves to vote for her. Also no one ever asked him HOW he was going to deliver his pie in the sky. Totally responsible for the mess we are in.
+13 # librarian1984 2018-03-13 10:26
His 'cult'? You mean the people who won at least 22 states, who filled stadia while Her Highness couldn't pull together a high school gym?

Sanders was more honorable than Hillary and her minions even pretended to be. SHE attacked her own party members, ran the worst campaign in living memory and lost to a reality tv misogynist, giving us President the Donald. Thank you SO much.

I don't suppose you read the Podesta emails that show them asking media lapdogs to bolster Trump and Cruz because they'd be easier to beat? No, you're not interested in reality.

Sanders didn't go after her emails, Wall Street speeches or STEALING the nomination, as his supporters wanted him to do. Instead he campaigned for her while SHE sat it out in UES fundraisers.

Btw more of Sanders supporters voted for Clinton than HER supporters voted for Obama.

If you'd cared to look, Sanders had detailed plans for funding what many of us recognize as the policies of modern civilization: health care, living wages and peace; Hillary said we would 'never EVER' get single payer, laughed at Qaddafi's death, voted for the Iraq War and wanted to bomb more. She attacked Bill Clinton's victims, called black youth 'superpredators ', and told Wall Street she had public positions and 'private' positions ie she LIES. No one had to convince anyone she's a crook. She admitted it.

Millions saw what happened and we're not going to be quiet or docile while you rewrite history.
+9 # librarian1984 2018-03-13 10:43
btw if you'd like to enter into a FACT-based debate, Sanders is leading a town hall on March 19th with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and activist Michael Morre, which will focus on wealth inequality.
+5 # virtualaudio 2018-03-13 14:33
Sorry Katela but I heard from many, many people their distaste for Sec. Clinton long before they (or I) heard of Sen. Sanders. Regardless of the veracity of the public dislike of Clinton, the fact remains that she was a poor choice as Dem standard bearer, not least the fact that most were fed up with the direction Washington has taken and wanted significant change - not a repeat or retread.
2nd, Sanders ran an incredibly meek campaign by any standard & avoided any harsh criticism of Clinton, instead making every effort to focus on the issues he cares about; despite the press trying to get him to badmouth her at every turn. I got the distinct impression that interviewers were annoyed that he didn't go for blood.
3rd, he never promised he would magically achieve the ideas he championed; on the contrary, he insisted that 'change comes from the bottom' and the only way to enact his proposals would take an equal or greater commitment of the public to pressure congress to actually represent the people.
4th, he didn't originally bring up the Wall Street speeches, though he ran with it as an example of what's wrong with current politics.
5th, Sec. Clinton stayed in the 2008 race longer than Sanders did in 2016, creating more division. The 2016 divisiveness was largely created by the hackers. They are your defamers. If anything, Bernie was too nice.
6th, your use of the word 'cult' shows your hand. Seems quite biased and dismissive. Open the mind...
+7 # ljslotnick 2018-03-14 08:56
Hi Katela: Go back and get your newsfeed from Facebook. This is where you and tens of thousands of others happily gobbled up the Russian bots' anti-Hillary stuff. THis was going to be a populist election. Do you really think that Sanders wouldn't have beaten Trump hands down in the general election? Sanders would have pulled in almost all Democrats and many Independents. But the Clinton people made sure that match-up wasn't going to happen. It was Hillary's turn. They engineered what turned out to be a toss-up general election between two very undesirable candidates. Hillary lost because she was an arrogant candidate and because Americans are tired of political dynasties.
+11 # tedrey 2018-03-12 13:52
Eveready Bernie, the Energizer that just keeps going and going and going and I hope he gets there!
+1 # REDPILLED 2018-03-12 14:00
Bernie won't be 'radical' until he challenges the U.S. Empire and the capitalist political-econo mic system fueling it.

Capitalism caused World Wars I and II, the Great Depression, Cold War 1.0, Nuclear Arms Race 1.0, the Great Recession of 2008, Cold War 2.0, Nuclear Arms Race 2.0, and Catastrophic Climate Disaster.
+12 # librarian1984 2018-03-13 10:28
And rogue capitalism is what Sanders has been fighting his entire career.

No, he's not radical, but radical is not what we need. He's pragmatic and hard working.

Seriously, show me someone better.
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-03-12 14:10
The country is getting woke. Trump is doing more for this than anyone. Obama put all the progressives to sleep. Now they are getting woke. That's a good thing.

"woke" = Russian Troll speak for "wake the hell up, MoFo."
+10 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-03-12 14:26
Run Bernie, RUN. We need you.
+11 # yolo 2018-03-12 15:41
Why would anyone want to protest against Bernie's message of wanting to helping out the less fortunate and giving a voice to voiceless? But I guess it goes back to what FDR once said,
Here is an amazing paradox! The very employers and politicians and publishers who talk most loudly of class antagonism and the destruction of the American system now undermine that system by this attempt to coerce the votes of the wage earners of this country. It is the 1936 version of the old threat to close down the factory or the office if a particular candidate does not win. It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them.
Franklin Roosevelt on October, 31, 1936 at Madison Square Garden
+4 # Art947 2018-03-12 20:38
Sorry, Sen. Sanders, but John McCain has lost the right to be called a man of "courage and dignity." His support for Drumpf's tax cut which is geared toward the destruction of Medicare, Medicaid, the ACA, Social Security and other problems which are designed to improve the lives of ordinary American citizens was reprehensible.
+16 # Moxa 2018-03-12 20:53
If Bernie runs and can get past the inevitable DNC/media interference to become the Democratic nominee, he will win the presidency in a landslide.

Look at the influence he has had on the political conversation without even having won the 2016 nomination. Look at all the Democratic presidential wannabees who have declared their support for Medicare for all. This would be unthinkable without Bernie's presence. He has brought issues formerly thought to be pie in the sky to the mainstream. $15 minimum wage, free college tuition, money out of politics and more: he has normalized them, and more and more Americans have come to expect and even demand these things.

It is all because Bernie, unbought and unbossed by big money donors, is free to speak the truth about what Americans have a right to expect from their government. It resonates and excites because so many people instinctively know that he is right.

Our government is corrupt and rotten all the way through. Without a truly honest, principled, compassionate and fearless leader, nothing will change in this country.

They have already started to try and talk us out of a Sanders presidency. We need someone fresh, they say. I say Bernie is the freshest politician I have seen in my lifetime. And the millenials agree. They know that integrity is ageless.

And diamonds are forever.
+13 # Texas Aggie 2018-03-12 22:01
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” - Mahatma Gandhi
+10 # PeacefulGarden 2018-03-13 05:07
Go Bernie Sanders! Keep working!

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