KEENE — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was in a fighting mood at a Keene State College rally on Wednesday night.
Sanders is leading Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Joe Biden in the latest CNN poll of the Democratic primary field, and is set to formally file his nomination papers at the State House on Thursday.
On Wednesday night, he had a message for his supporters, and for those he’s running against.
“Let me give a heads-up to the top one percent, under a Bernie administration, yeah, you are going to be paying more in taxes,” Sanders said.
Sanders wants to raise taxes on the top one percent, and on Wall Street traders to fund his programs of cancelling college student debt, making college education tuition-free, and expanding Medicare to everyone in the country. Sanders also wants to enact a $15 minimum wage.
“In this campaign, we are surely taking on the corporate elite with all of their greed and all of their corruption,” he said.
Sanders and Warren are seen as the more progressive candidates in the race, with Biden seen as a more centrist candidate who does not support the Sanders and Warren Medicare for All proposals. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who filed his nomination papers Wednesday, has also been trying to carve out a more centrist position in the race, supporting a healthcare plan that is short of the universal system Sanders and Warren advocate.
Sanders urged his hundred of supporters not to think small when it comes to this campaign.
“We are going to be changing national priorities in America,” Sanders said. “I’m begging you, do not accept as fact that we cannot make fundamental change in this country.”
The campaign crowd was young and at times raucous as they shouted responses to lines in Sanders’ stump speech. Members of the band Dispatch performed a mini-concert before Sanders took the stage. Sanders walked out with his wife, Jane Sanders, who has been a fixture at his rallies. Sanders did not appear slowed by his recent heart attack, which took him off the campaign trails for a short time at the start of the month.
He led off the rally with an attack on President Donald Trump, calling the impeachment-embattled Republican a racist, sexist, homophobe, xenophobe, religious bigot and a pathological liar.
“We are here for some serious business,” Sanders said. “We are going to defeat the most dangerous president this country has ever had.”
Sanders also hit the progressive highlights to big cheers from the crowd, promising to end the war on drugs, legalize marijuana, codify abortion rights into law, and outlawing so-called assault weapons.
“We are going to ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in America,” he said.