Senator Bernie Sanders (VT-I), a potential 2016 presidential candidate, delivered a rousing speech to an overflowing audience in Richmond on Thursday. His speech focused on the growing economic inequality in the United States and argued for the importance of electing candidates who will implement progressive policies in the face of the growing influence of big money in politics.
“At this profound moment in American history, where the billionaire class wants to get it all ... we have got to fight back tooth and nail,” Sanders said, drawing boisterous applause from a crowd of about 500. “We cannot allow them to take over Richmond ... we cannot allow them to take over America.”
Sanders was invited to Richmond by Mayor Gayle McLaughlin to help rally her progressive base in the face of $3 million in spending by Chevron Corp. to oppose McLaughlin and her allies in the Nov. 4 election. Federal law allows unlimited spending by large donors through independent campaign committees.
“There’s no place like Richmond to see the blatant evil that is Citizens United,” McLaughlin said as she introduced Sanders, one of Congress’ fiercest critics of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.
Sanders’ hour-long speech at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium touched on a range of progressive issues.