Bernie's big win: Sanders goes on offense in rowdy New Hampshire victory speech

After his first primary win, Bernie Sanders goes after Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

By Scott Eric Kaufman
February 10, 2016 7:56AM (UTC)
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Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders smiles after winning, at his 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary night rally in Concord, New Hampshire February 9, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX26989 (Reuters)

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders allowed Hillary Clinton to give her concession speech before venturing onstage himself, but her speech wasn't all that concessional -- and in fact sounded quite a bit like something Sanders himself would say.

A cynic would believe that Clinton's focus on the number of small donations she received and her attacks on Wall Street were an attempt to forestall the criticisms she knew Sanders would make, but she also seemed to take seriously the lessons she learned from her "Comeback Kid" husband in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008 -- namely, that the second-place finisher in New Hampshire often ends up winning the nomination.


Clinton seemed more concerned with attacking Trump, attempting to align her coalition against the GOP front-runner, by mentioning Flint, Michigan repeatedly and focusing on her relationship with minorities. When Sanders finally took the stage to give his victory speech, his focus was clearly on Clinton.

He noted that "we won because of your energy," and and thanked New Hampshire and America for contributing to his campaign at an average of $27, as opposed to those whose donations come from large donors or their own giant pocketbooks. Sanders said that he's taking on "the most powerful political organization in America," and that he was doing it the way a Democrat should -- by increasing voter turnout.

"Let us never forget that Democrats win when turnout is high," he said, whereas "Republicans win when turnout is low. The American people won't continue to accept a rigged campaign system that undermines democracy." Sanders then went on the offensive against the 1 percent.


"This is not what democracy is about," he said, "this is what oligarchy is about," because "America is based on a simple principle -- the principle of fairness," and when the 20 wealthiest people own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of American earners, the country's economy must be inherently unfair.

Sanders also explained how he would pay for the programs that his critics, including Clinton, claim are impossible -- he will tax Wall Street speculation. "It's Wall Street's tie mto help the middle class," he said, noting that the middle class already bailed out Wall Street.

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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Bernie Sanders Elections 2016 Hillary Clinton New Hampshire Primary