Bernie Sanders calls on supporters to step up resistance

Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders makes remarks during a campaign stop at Affton High School in Affton, Missouri on March 13, 2016. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

CHICAGO — Sen. Bernie Sanders will tout the new progressive coalitions inspired by his 2016 presidential campaign and call on Democratic party leaders to more forwardly address working-class voters in his keynote address to activists at the People’s Summit in Chicago on Saturday night.

The speech comes nearly a year after the final contest in the Democratic primary that launched his “political revolution,” and in what many here consider the validating glow of a British election that saw leftist Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party score massive gains in the UK Parliament.

“Ideas that, just a few years ago, seemed radical and unattainable are now part of Main Street discussion and, in fact, some of them are being implemented across the country as we speak,” Sanders will say, according to exerpts released before his address. He will cite new support for federal legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and similar, successful measures in city and state governments.

The Vermont senator also plans to call out President Donald Trump, arguing that the Republican’s populist pitch was deceptive cover for more familiar right-wing economic policies, calling the Trump agenda “precisely what the extreme right wing billionaire Koch brothers have been pushing for decades.”

“During his campaign, Trump posed as a friend of the working class,” Sanders will tell supporters here. “Not surprisingly, however, the budget and health care proposals that he has brought forth are the most destructive for working people in the modern history of our country.”

This is the second annual convention of progressive activists organized by National Nurses United, an early backer of the Sanders campaign and increasingly visible pressure group in the statewide and national push for single-payer health care, or “Medicare for all.”

Our Revolution, the political organization created by Sanders and former campaign officials last year, and the new Sanders Institute, a think tank and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit group, are also featured players at the gathering, which attracted more than 4,000 people to the McCormick Place convention center on the shore of Lake Michigan.

By Gregory Krieg