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President Donald Trump "is supporting the most anti-working class legislation ever presented in the modern history of this country -- a disastrous healthcare bill," Sanders said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders told a progressive convention Saturday that 'if people all over this country do not stand up and fight back [...], there is a real likelihood that the trend toward oligarchy will only intensify.'
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Bernie Sanders spoke in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday where he issued a rallying cry for "a vibrant American democracy," and took aim at the Republicans' healthcare bill, which he called "the most anti-working class legislation" in modern history.
The Vermont senator made the remarks at the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) Action Fund's annual convention called "Revolution Iowa: From Protest to Power," where he delivered the keynote address.
Sanders said that "we're in a pivotal moment of American history.
"The trend toward having a handful of billionaire families with unlimited resources controlling our political process will only get worse. The trend toward a handful of conglomerates owning and controlling our economy will only get worse.
"And what our job is," he continued, "is to create a vibrant democracy where one person, one vote is what dominates the political system, not billionaires buying the election."
"Democracy is facing an enormous challenge," Sanders said.
Threats to a "vibrant democracy," he said, come not only from the "disastrous" Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, but also "Republican governors, cowardly governors, who don't have the guts to run for office based on their ideas but who are attempting to suppress the vote to keep low-income people or people of color or working people or older people from participating in the political process.
"If some Republican wants to run for office talking about giving tax breaks to billionaires and cutting Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and education, that is his or her prerogative. Run for office on those ideas. See how many votes you get."
His advice for politicians espousing those ideas but not willing to run for office on them? "Get out of office or get another job."
Among the steps to ensure that everyday Americans -- "not the Koch brothers" -- dominate the political process, Sanders said, are establishing automatic voter registration, restoring the voting rights for convicted felons who've served their sentence, ending super PACs, and enacting public funding of elections.
Sanders also took direct aim at Donald Trump, saying the president's claim that three to five million people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election "is an absolute lie" whose goal is "to encourage state officials all across the country to suppress the vote. We will not accept that."
Trump, he added, "is supporting the most anti-working class legislation ever presented in the modern history of this country -- a disastrous healthcare bill.