Have some free ice cream and vote for Bernie Sanders.
That was the message Monday morning in Conway, New Hampshire, where Democratic presidential hopeful, Bernie Sanders, ran through his signature slams of the “billionaire class,” Wall Street greed, and Republicans inside a muggy gym. He was introduced by Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen and followed by free servings of ice cream to entranced Sanders’ supporters still feeling the Bern.
Cohen extolled Sanders’ virtues and spoke of his own desire to create a new ice cream flavor called “Bernie’s Binge” also known as “Spread the Bread,” an apparent naming evolution from earlier names suggested by Cohen.
“It’s a pint of vanilla ice cream with a huge chocolate slab on the top. And the way you eat that and what that represents is the 90 percent of the wealth that is generated over the last 50 years that went to the wealthiest one percent,” Cohen said of Bernie’s Binge. “So the way you eat it is you take your spoon, you give it a good whack and you crack it up into a lot of little chunks.”
The audience ate it up.
The Republican National Committee has also provided their own list of potential Bernie ice cream flavors in the past, including Socialist Swirl.
Cohen went on to ask the audience to “be a body for Bernie” and a “billboard for Bernie,” optimally by putting Bernie Sanders for President bumper stickers all over their cars.
“What a beautiful parade that will be,” Cohen said.
Everyday Americans Support Sanders
The audience of around 400 applauded loudly as Sanders emerged waving and launched directly into his remarks, beginning with expressing happiness at the often massive crowds who have been attending his recent campaign rallies.
“Media pundits and professional politicians they said ‘he’s a fringe candidate, who really thinks that in America people are prepared to stand up to the billionaire class? Who really in America thinks that maybe we should be expanding Social Security, not cutting it? Who really in America thinks that we should ask the wealthiest people in this country to finally start paying their fair share of taxes?’”
Sanders began, impersonating his critics in a mocking tone: “They’re not so wise. It turns out there are millions of people who do agree!” he added, tacking on condemnations of Super PACs and big donors, who he said buy candidates’ loyalties.
The Independent Senator from Vermont said that, by contrast, his campaign is funded through popular support.
“We are raising substantial sums of money in the old-fashioned way and that’s from ordinary human beings,” said Sanders, 73, now the Democratic frontrunner in New Hampshire according to one recent poll.
“As of this point over 400,000 Americans in 50 states in this country have made individual contributions. That is more than any other campaign. The average contribution? Not a million dollars, not a half million dollars, $31.20, how’s that?” he asked the crowd.
“The time is long overdue for us to bring our people together. Middle class and working families, lower income people, white, black, Hispanic, Native American, many women, straight and gay, native-born and immigrant,” Sanders said. He then slammed Republicans and the “other side” for being supposedly bought out by the Koch brothers and the top wealthy class, whose interests are directly against working class people.
On Trickle-Down Economics
“Trickle-down economics does not work!” Sanders said.
“This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires,” he said. “The simple truth is that the American people are sick and tired with establishment politics. They are sick and tired of establishment economics, and in many respects, they are sick and tired with establishment media.”
At times, despite his rote leftist policy positions on social and economic issues, Sanders’ language and tone was strikingly similar to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who often says that he is “sick and tired” of the political class and career politicians.Trump also tends to fill his speeches with invective against the corrupt political system and global trade deals he says sell out American workers.
Sanders too decried The Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Trans-Pacific Parternship (TPP), saying he’s led the fight against these deals and will continue to fight against such agreements going forward.
One marked difference between their statements is that Sanders displayed little of the wit and jokes Trump often employs, adding that he specifically stays away from that as he’s “not funny.”
After speaking for around an hour, the crowd of voters rose for standing ovation after standing ovation with one shouting “Give ‘em hell, Bernie!” and encouraging him to continue.
“People in this country fully understand that corporate greed is destroying our economy, that big money interests in this country could care less about their fellow Americans, and their only concern is their short-term profit gains. The American people understand that politics is now dominated by big money interests,” Sanders went on, saying politicians have become like NASCAR race drivers sponsored by different oil companies and corporations.
“Corporate media is prepared to discuss everything 24 hours, seven days a week, except the most important issues facing the American people,” Sanders contended.
Sander’s Five-Year Plan
He got his biggest applause lines in Conway talking about his support for abortion, free education, socialized healthcare, his plans for a “massive federal jobs program,” a five-year plan to rebuild infrastructure, and increased taxation of those at the very top to pay for his administration’s free education and healthcare plans.
“It makes a lot more sense to invest in jobs and education rather than jails and incarceration,” Sanders shouted to the crowd.
Politicians are bought off and the system is rigged, but funnily enough, Sanders refused to attack fellow Democrats, focusing instead on the rottenness of the political system as a whole, Republican candidates, and what he regards as their fake family values.
He won’t give people the things they want, only a “political revolution” of millions of people making “big money interests an offer they cannot refuse” will do that, Sanders said as the crowd began hooting and stamping.
“You’re helping us to win here in New Hampshire, and I think we got a real good shot to do that,” Sanders said.
Attacking the top .01 percent and the tax havens they use, Sanders, a self-declared socialist, presented a worldview in which the government should be used to create equality. He mocked those scared of redistributing income as hypocrites and scaremongers who try to tell people that he’s part of some communist plot. He added that there has been a huge redistribution of income from the middle class to the very top wealthiest in the recent past.
“Millions of people are working at wages that are just too damn low,” Sanders said, adding that free education is very logical to help youth who are facing disproportionate unemployment, particularly black and Hispanic youth.
On Wall Street’s Greed
“We cannot afford to waste intellectual capital,” Sanders said, cataloguing a list of ills including what he named as perhaps his foremost grievance, the Citizens United decision reshaping campaign finance law, which Sanders said has completely corrupted American politics.
“Wall Street’s greed nearly destroyed the American economy, and the middle class bailed them out. Now it’s their turn to help.”
Supporters — many decked out in Bernie shirts — young, middle-aged, and old, streamed out of the gym satisfied.
They’d had a good scoop of what they came to hear and then some.
“I fell in love today,” said Beth Richards as she ate some free Ben & Jerry’s outside the gym. “In my heart is his heart … I believe him.”
Sanders sweated on the podium to deliver his spread the wealth message to the receptive crowd and apparently captured at least one heart’s deeper affections as well.
Like a bargain bin at the grocery store, Sanders’ ideas and socialistic tendencies were presented loud and clear with a little bit of free stuff for almost everyone. Sanders threw together often valid critiques of banks too-big-to-fail, campaign finance issues, and policies which have hurt the American economy, with grand FDR-style federal works programs. He then mashed it together with a lot of boilerplate left wing political karaoke.
After a reporter from CNN asked him why he had lumped in much of the media with the hated billionaire class in his earlier remarks, Sanders excoriated the “corporate media” for focusing on “soap opera” style political reporting and trivial things, like Marco Rubio mistakenly hitting a kid with a football, instead of climate change, education, and the economy, .
You heard it from Sanders: it’s time to stop talking about politicians mistakenly hitting kids with footballs and time to start enjoying the free ice cream. Make sure to smash the chocolate slab with your presumably non-silver spoon.