Sen. Bernie Sanders: The United States is on the Verge of Becoming an Oligarchy
We get reaction to the Republicans’ big midterm victory from Sen. Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont. "What frightens me is what Citizens United has done to the politics of this country and the ability of billionaires like the Koch brothers and others to put unprecedented sums of money into elections," Sanders says. "I fear that we may be on the verge of becoming an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires control not just the economy, but the political life of this country. And that’s just something we’re going to have wrestle with."
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: [This is] Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, on this day after. That’s right. Last night, Tuesday night, during Democracy Now!’s five-hour special broadcast, Juan González and I spoke with Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, just as it started to become clear from early election results that the Senate was clearly going to be controlled by Republicans.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: What I do know is that if in fact the Republicans carry the Senate and control the Congress, as they may, I think it will be a disaster for the middle-class and working families of this country. And we’re just going to have to figure out how we can fight back as effectively as we can.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what do you see as the options for—in case that does turn out to be the result tonight, what do you see the options in terms of how President Obama can move forward any kind of a Democratic or progressive agenda in the remaining two years?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I think it’s quite far-fetched to believe that he can move forward a progressive agenda. I think the immediate effort will be to stop to have more tax breaks for the wealthy and large corporations, which the Republicans will certainly bring forward. I think under the guise of, quote-unquote, "entitlement reform," they will be making efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare. They’ll go after Medicaid. They’ll go after education. They’ll go after nutrition. They’ll probably want to increase funding for the military. And my guess is, with all of the money from the Koch brothers coming in and the other fossil fuel industries, they’ll continue to ignore scientific evidence about climate change. So, I think we’re going to be more of a defensive mode trying to prevent bad things than having illusions at this point about doing good things.
AMY GOODMAN: Senator Sanders, your state has struggled with your Obamacare website. It has caused a very major issue particularly in Vermont, because of the quest by Governor Shumlin and many others to make Vermont the first single-payer state. Can you talk about the significance of this and what it will mean?
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