Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont officially launched his 2016 presidential campaign on Tuesday with a kick-off rally in Burlington, Vermont.
Sanders said that the event was the beginning of “a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally.” The self-described "Democratic-Socialist" has long been an advocate for political and economical reform and for the removal of money from politics.
“Today, we stand here and say loudly and clearly that enough is enough. This great nation and its government belong to all of the people, and not to a handful of billionaires, their super PACs and their lobbyists,” he said at the event. Sanders touched on campaign finance reform and the “planetary crisis of climate change,” and referred to income inequality as “the greatest moral issue of our time.”
“There is something profoundly wrong when one family owns more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans," he said. "This grotesque level of inequality is immoral.
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"It is bad economics. It is unsustainable,” he added. “This type of rigged economy is not what America is supposed to be about. This has got to change.”
Among Sanders’ priorities in his campaign platform were closing the gender pay gap, overturning the controversial Citizens United decision, and investing in infrastructure.
Sanders made a point not to attack his opponents for the Democratic presidential nomination in his speech; some comments, however, seemed to be aimed at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Now is not the time for thinking small," he said. "Now is not the time for the same old, same old establishment politics and stale inside-the-beltway ideas."
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According to reports, former Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland will be the next Democrat to enter the race for the 2016 nomination, with an announcement and launch event expected on Saturday.