Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told supporters in New Hampshire today that he’ll be launching an effort in Congress to make campaigns publicly funded events.
“We’re going to introduce legislation which will allow people to run for office without having to beg money from the wealthy and the powerful,” Sanders said.
Sanders has already acknowledged that he’ll be very outspent by Hillary Clinton and her big donors, and told the New Hampshire crowd that current campaign financing is a “sad state of affairs.”
He argued that public campaign financing would not only put candidates on an even plane but allow them to spend more time hobnobbing with voters instead of hobnobbing with big spenders writing the checks.
“That’s called democracy and I am going to do everything I can to bring that about,” Sanders said. “…We are increasingly living in an oligarchy where big money is buying politicians.”
Sanders added that politicians should use emblazoned sponsor advertising like NASCAR drivers, saying “I’m sponsored by the Koch brothers” or “I’m sponsored by Big Oil.”
The senator has raised more than $10 million for his presidential campaign, with more than three-quarters of donations from individuals contributing less than $200.
This past Wednesday, Sanders had 4,000 grassroots events in all 50 states that drew 100,000 supporters, according to his campaign. It’s the strategy that the Clinton campaign laid out early on in the game.
This morning on ABC, Sanders that the turnout proves voters are “saying enough is enough, government has to be respond to the needs of the middle class, not the billionaires, I think that’s what’s going on in this country and I’m not sure that conventional politics will do it anymore.”
“If you and I were having this discussion three months ago, you would not have anticipated that we would have brought 100,000 people out on Wednesday night that we would have the largest crowds of any candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire and all over this country,” he said. “We have made phenomenal progress in the last three months.”
“…So, let’s talk three months from now. I think you will see that our campaign makes significant inroads all across the country.”
Sanders said he had a “hard time understanding” Clinton’s noncommittal response to the Keystone XL question, but dodged a question on whether Hillary is honest and trustworthy.
“I’m not going to be engaging in personal attacks against her,” he said. “She and I disagree on many issues. The American people want a serious debate about serious issues, not personal attacks.”