Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is calling for revolution. The independent senator from Vermont who just this week announced his bid for Democratic nominee, minced no words when speaking on ABC's This Week on Sunday.
"I think I'm the only candidate who's prepared to take on the billionaire class which now controls our economy, and increasingly controls the political life of this country," Sanders told host George Stephanopoulos. "We need a political revolution in this country involving millions of people who are prepared to stand up and say, enough is enough, and I want to help lead that effort."
Sanders contrasted his record with that of his primary opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, noting that the presumed nominee "has been part of the political establishment for many, many years."
"I respect her and I like her," the senator continued, "but I think what the American people are saying is that at a time when 99 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent, and when the top 0.1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, maybe it's time for a real political shakeup in this country and go beyond establishment politics."
Laying out what appeared to be a key pillar of his campaign, Sanders spoke decisively about the need for the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations to "start paying their fair share of taxes." In addition, he championed "bold leadership" to tackle the climate crisis, which includes the rejection of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and voiced clear opposition to the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.
Further, Sanders called for an end to big-money politics and a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizen United ruling.
"This is, in a sense, what my campaign is about," Sanders continued. "Can somebody who is not a billionaire who stands for working families actually win an election in which billionaires are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the election?
"I get very frightened about the future of American democracy when [elections] become a battle between billionaires," he added.
Surpassing many of his Republican rivals, the progressive presidential candidate raised $1.5 million online less than one day after announcing his bid. According to the campaign, 35,000 donors contributed an average of $43.
The New York Times reports: "Mr. Sanders has said that small donations will be his only chance of defeating Hillary Rodham Clinton for the nomination, because he has no 'billionaire and millionaire' friends and does not intend to depend on the backing of a 'Super PAC.'"
And on the campaign website Berniesanders.com, the campaign specifies that it is paid for by Bernie 2016, "not the billionaires."