Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made a stop at Johns Hopkins University Nov. 17 to discuss his book, problems facing this country and his solutions. Sanders is currently on a book tour of universities across the county to promote his new book, “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.”
Sanders opened with reading excerpts from his book, which focuses on his unsuccessful attempt to become the Democratic nominee for president. The excerpt dealt with his platform for the Democrats in 2016, a $15 minimum wage, major criminal justice reform, among other policy shifts. In his speech, Sanders also held forth on the economy, “legal” voter discrimination, climate change and his thoughts on president-elect Donald Trump.
Former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., speaks at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. (Photo by Terrance Smith)
“The whole struggle of American democracy has been an expansion of voting rights. Right now we are in a moment in history where Republican governors all over the country are working overtime trying to suppress the vote,” he told the audience.
Sanders said he believes the United States is a big player in reversing climate change and is concerned that Trump thinks it is a hoax.
“If the United States rejects all efforts to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and turns its back on climate change crisis, what do you think India is going to do? What do you think China is going to do? What do you think Russia is going to do? What do you think Europe is going to do? They’re going to say, ‘Why do we want to give up good burning plants? Why do we want to give up oil? It’s the largest economy in the world,’” said Sanders. “If we do not act very, very boldly what we will see in the coming years is more droughts, more floods, more weather distributions, more rising sea levels and more precipitation than usual.”
Sanders concluded the program by taking questions from the mostly student audience. The most pressing question on the student’s minds was whether Sanders would run for president again in 2020. But Sanders demurred.
“We have enormous issues facing us tomorrow and the next couple of years, this is not what we should be discussing,” he said. “What we should be discussing is how we address the crises today and people can make a decision about our candidates in two or three years.”
Tyana Warren, a senior cognitive science major at Hopkins said, “It is bittersweet that gets out a lot of messages on campus that progressive groups on campus, including the Black Student Union, , but at least they heard him. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Tariro Makoni, a junior in international studies and sociology at Hopkins, said Sanders’ message of self-determination resonated.
“At the very end of his presentation, he talked about how anyone can promote and create grassroots change and that is exactly what we need in this country today,” Makoni said, then added, “ talked about the importance of people around the world making a change and not waiting for institutions and policies to do it for them and we should break those boundaries as much as we can.”