Corruption is a cancer on our democracy. And we will get rid of it only with strong medicine — with real, structural reform.
Our fight is to change the rules so that our government, our economy, and our democracy work for everyone.
And I want to be crystal-clear about exactly what I mean when I say that.
First: We need to change the rules to clean up Washington. End the corruption.
We all know the Trump Administration is the most corrupt in living memory.
But even after Trump is gone, it won’t be enough to do a better job of running a broken system.
We need to take power in Washington away from the wealthy and well-connected and put it back in the hands of the people where it belongs!
That’s why I’ve proposed the strongest and most comprehensive anti-corruption law since Watergate.
Shut down the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington.
End lobbying as we know it.
And while we’re at it, ban foreign governments from hiring lobbyists in Washington.
Make justices of the United States Supreme Court follow a basic Code of Ethics.
Ban Members of Congress from trading stocks– how is that not already illegal?
And, one more, make every single candidate for federal office put their taxes online; I’ve done it, everyone should do it.
That’s One — root out corruption in Washington.
Now, two — change the rules to put more economic power in the hands of the American people — workers and small businesses.
Middle-class families and people of color who have been shut out of their chance to build wealth for generations.
Again, that requires real, structural change.
Right now, giant corporations in America have too much power — and they roll right over everyone else.
We need to put power back in the hands of workers.
Make it quick and easy to join a union. Unions built America’s middle class, and unions will rebuild America’s middle class.
Make American companies accountable for their actions and raise wages by putting workers in those corporate boardrooms where the real decisions are made.
Break up monopolies when they choke off competition.
Take on Wall Street so that the big banks can never again threaten the security of our economy.
And when giant corporations — and their leaders — cheat their customers, stomp out their competitors, or rob their workers, let’s prosecute them.
And one more thing. I’m tired of hearing that we can’t afford to make real investments in child care, college, and Medicare for All.
Can’t afford things that help create economic opportunity for families.
I’m tired of hearing that we can’t afford to make investments in things like housing and opioid treatment.
Can’t afford things that address rural neglect or the legacy of racial discrimination.
I’m tired of hearing what we can’t afford because it is just not true.
We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world — of course we can afford these investments.
But we need a government that makes different choices, choices that reflect our values.
Stop handing out enormous tax giveaways to rich people and giant corporations.
Stop refusing to invest in our children.
Stop stalling on spending money — real money — on infrastructure and clean energy and a Green New Deal.
And start asking the people who have gained the most from our country to pay their fair share.
That includes real tax reform in this country — reforms that close loopholes and giveaways to the people at the top, and an Ultra-Millionaire Tax to make sure rich people start doing their part for the country that helped make them rich.
So, that’s one — clean up Washington. That’s two — change the rules in our economy.
Now, three: change the rules to strengthen our democracy.
That starts with a constitutional amendment to protect the right of every American citizen to vote and to have that vote counted.
And that’s just the beginning.
Overturn every single voter suppression rule that racist politicians use to steal votes from people of color.
Outlaw partisan gerrymandering — by Democrats and Republicans.
And overturn Citizens United. Our democracy is not for sale.
By the way, if we truly believe that, then we also need to end the unwritten rule of politics that says anyone who wants to run for office has to start by sucking up to rich donors on Wall Street and powerful insiders in Washington.
I’m opting out of that rule. I’m not taking a dime of PAC money in this campaign. I’m not taking a single check from a federal lobbyist.
I’m not taking applications from billionaires who want to run a Super PAC on my behalf.
And I challenge every other candidate who asks for your vote in this primary to say exactly the same thing.
It’s not just our elections. Real democracy requires equal justice under law.
It’s not equal justice when a kid with an ounce of pot can get thrown in jail while a bank executive who launders money for a drug cartel can get a bonus. We need real reform!
It’s not equal justice when, for the exact same crimes, African Americans are more likely than whites to be arrested, more likely to be charged, more likely to be convicted, and more likely to be sentenced.
Yes, we need criminal justice reform and we need it now!
And one more thing we must do to strengthen our democracy: We must not allow those with power to weaponize hatred and bigotry to divide us.
More than 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. went to Montgomery and warned us about the danger of division.
He talked about how bigotry and race-baiting are used to keep black Americans divided from white Americans so that rich Americans can keep picking all their pockets.
That playbook has been around forever.
Whether it’s white people against black people, straight people against gay people, middle-class families against new immigrant families — the story is the same. The rich and powerful use fear to divide us.
We’re done with that. Bigotry has no place in the Oval Office.
This is who we are.
We come from different backgrounds. Different religions. Different languages. Different experiences. We have different dreams.
We are passionate about different issues and we feel the urgency of this moment in different ways.
But, today, we come together — ready to raise our voices together until this fight is won.
Our movement won’t be divided by our differences. It will be united by the values we share.
We all want a country where everyone — not just the wealthy — everyone can take care of their families.
We all want a country where every American — not just the ones who hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers — everyone can participate in democracy.
Where every child can dream big and reach for opportunity.
And we’re all in the fight to build an America that works for everyone.
This won’t be easy. There are a lot of people out there with money and power and armies of lobbyists and lawyers.