- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Democratic Presidential contender Bernard Sanders said a “political revolution” was needed in order to make good on his policy proposals like free higher education and universal health care, admitting he alone if elected president can’t force change.

“All of what I’m trying to do assumes something,” the Vermont Senator said during CNN’s Democratic town hall in Derry, New Hampshire, Wednesday night. “When I talk about making public colleges and universities tuition free and paying for that through a tax on Wall Street speculation; when I talk about rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and talk about doing away with huge loopholes that major corporations now enjoy — now how do we get these things though?

“What this campaign is about is not just electing a president it is creating a political revolution where millions of people, many of whom have not been involved in the political process stand up and demand the government represents all of us not just campaign contributors. That’s how we make change,” he said.

An improved voter turnout, especially among the youth and in non-presidential election cycles is necessary to make this revolution happen, Mr. Sanders said.

“Let’s be clear: We have one of the lowest voter turnouts of any major country on earth. In the last election where the Republicans won a huge victory, 63 percent of the American people didn’t vote, 80 percent of young people didn’t vote,” Mr. Sanders said.

“Now when people don’t vote there’s a political vacuum that’s created and I will tell you how it’s filled. It’s filled with lobbyists, and campaign contributors who couldn’t care less about the middle class,” he added. “What we are trying to do with some success is bring working people and younger people and lower income people into the political process and when that happens we will raise the minimum wage, we will have health care for all, we will make public universities and colleges tuition free.”

SEE ALSO: Bernie Sanders calls Hillary Clinton’s progressive cred into question

When asked by a woman if that political revolution were never to come in Congress, how he would fare as president, Mr. Sanders emphasized he could compromise with Republicans on issues of common ground — but to truly achieve his goals citizens would have to demand of their Washington Representatives to support his mission and get involved.

“I compromised significantly with people like John McCain and Republicans in the House to pass what is regarded as the most significant piece of veterans’ legislation passed in many, many years,” Mr. Sanders said. “Second of all, when I was in the House of Representatives, there were years where I received more votes, I won more amendments than any other Member of the House of Representatives because I reached out where there was common ground with Republicans.”

Still, real change will only come from the bottom up, Mr. Sanders said.

“Change in my view and what history tells us, has always come from the bottom on up,” Mr. Sanders said. “What we need right now is a very profound and deep movement in this country where millions of people get involved.”

• Kelly Riddell can be reached at kriddell@washingtontimes.com.

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