A Democratic presidential hopeful uses a speech at the University of Chicago to appeal to an infamously fickle group of voters: young people.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke in the same chapel where his graduation ceremony was held in 1964, and said neither he nor his classmates could’ve expected some of the changes which have come in the past half-century, like the election of the first African-American president or the legalization of same-sex marriage.
He credited those changes not to individuals, but to grassroots support and shifts in popular opinion. The same formula may work for the issues he emphasizes, such as income inequality, equal pay for women, and taking action of climate change.
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But Sanders warns nothing will change if young voters stay home, as they largely did in the 2014 midterm elections.
“There is nothing that I’m telling you today that is pie-in-the-sky, that is utopian. Nothing,” said Sanders. “We can accomplish all of that and more, but we will not accomplish that if 80 percent of young people do not vote.”
While Sanders touched on many issues during his speech, he put the greatest emphasis on overturning the Citizens United decision which allowed for unlimited political spending by corporations, going as far as to make opposition to it a litmus test for federal judges.
“No nominee of mine to the United States Supreme Court will get that job unless he or she is loud and clear that one of their first orders of business will be to overturn Citizens United,” Sanders said.
It’s the second Chicago visit for Sanders in recent months. Some opinion polls in early primary states Iowa and New Hampshire now have him first among Democratic candidates over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.