On Thursday night, Senator Sanders spoke to hundreds of students and community members in Old Cabell Hall about the state of the country under a capitalist system. The UVA Center for Politics hosted this event. The evening included remarks from Senator Sanders, questions from Robert Costa to Sanders and prepared questions from students in the audience.
Sanders is serving in the United States Congress as a senator from Vermont and as an independent. Sanders serves as the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and is on a number of other Congressional committees.
The night began with remarks from Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato about his excitement for the event and a quick introduction of Robert Costa and Senator Bernie Sanders.
When Sanders took the stage, he began by outlining his intentions in his recent book, It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism. Sanders said politics is about “what is going on in American life today” and “who is winning in American society” to which he answered the billionaire class at the expense of the working class of America. Some problems he notes with the current U.S. system include less weekly income than 50 years ago accounting for inflation, over 60% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, and many Americans who are not insured or underinsured.
Senator Sanders then sat down with campaign correspondent Robert Costa to answer some of his questions about the book and his current political positions. These questions included topics about authors Sanders quoted in the book, such as Franklin Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. Costa ended with a question about Senator Sanders’ support for Biden’s re-election in 2024. Costa’s questions led Sanders to speak about the immorality of capitalism, a two tiered system of justice based on class, medicare for all, the climate crisis and the student debt crisis alongside debt forgiveness and much more.
The night ended with prepared questions from several students in the audience to Senator Sanders. The first student asked about why rural white Americans vote for Republicans to which he replied that demagogues like President Trump speak to struggling working class people who are falling further and further behind economically compared to the billionaire class. Other students asked about the Willow Project in Alaska, and the political fatigue of young people especially regarding social media.