Bernie Sanders is on a mission to unseat Donald Trump and fight climate change.
The Democratic Presidential candidate campaigned Thursday at Chapin Park in Myrtle Beach. Much of the town hall saw Sanders speak on his recently announced Green New Deal plan. The $16 trillion proposal is centered on tackling climate change.
“Donald Trump thinks that climate change is a hoax,” Sanders said. “I think that Donald Trump is a hoax.”
He took issue with the fossil fuel industry, which he said rakes in tens of billions each year producing a type of product that is destroying the planet.
“Right now, the debate is over in terms of climate change,” he said. “Scientists have told us loudly and clearly that climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, it is already doing devastating harm in our country and around the world.”
Scientists, Sanders said, have stated that unless bold, aggressive action is taken, climate change will result in more flooding in addition to rising sea levels, increased famine, disease and extreme weather disturbances, more acidification of the ocean and human suffering.
"We have a moral obligation to make certain that the planet we give our kids and our grandchildren is a planet that is healthy and is habitable,” he said.
He acknowledged critics telling him the plan is costly.
“I say you’re right,” he opined, “but I also say that the cost of doing nothing will be far more expensive.”
How to pay for it?
“By eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and making big oil companies pay their fair share of taxes,” he said.
The U.S. Senator from Vermont stressed that his campaign emphasizes, "Us, not me."
“What that means is, if we are serious about not only defeating Trump, but transforming this country so that we have an economy and a government that works for all of us and not just the 1%,” he said before cheers from the crowd, “we need millions of people from coast to coast to stand up to the greed and the corruption of the corporate elite.”
Sanders vowed to stand up for working class Americans by raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.
“Nobody can make it on nine, 10 bucks an hour,” he said. “You can’t take care of yourself, let alone a family.”
He promised to end the gender pay gap, which, he said, is even worse for women of color. Additionally, Sanders said he would fight to make it easier for workers to join unions.
He also wants to make public colleges and universities tuition-free and cancel all student debt. While this is estimated to cost over $2 trillion, Sanders said money garnered from a “tax on Wall Street speculation,” a levy on bonds, stocks and derivatives sold, could pay for what he is proposing.
In regards to the country's “dysfunctional” health care system, Sanders said that if he is elected President, legislators will pass a "Medicare for All" single-payer system.
As a fired up crowd applauded Sanders during pauses in his speech, there were detractors.
Sanders appeared unbothered by the shouting of phrases like “Trump 2020” coming from cars passing by on Kings Highway or “communist” from an attendee.
Near the event, a few in red hats — some clutching American flags — showed their support for Trump, and some in the crowd even had the caps.
Among Sander’s supporters in attendance was Bryan Baker of Socastee.
The New York native said Sanders’ history as a civil rights activist is partly why he is a fan.
Baker added he was surprised by the town hall’s turnout. Campaign workers gave a crowd count of over 900.
“I didn't realize South Carolina had this much support for him,” Baker said.