Bernie Sanders Rallies Progressives, Says 'We Cannot Go Back to Business As Usual' if Biden Wins

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has rallied his supporters to back Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden against Donald Trump, but insisted progressives should see defeating the Republican as a "first step" for change.

Sanders, who previously ran against Biden for the Democratic candidacy before dropping out of the race and backing him, spoke of a change from "business as usual" should Trump be ousted.

"Defeating Trump is necessary as a first step, but we cannot—and must not—go back to business as usual," he said.

Expanding upon this, he said there must be a "very different" vision for America.

"Progressives today understand that if we're going to stand up for working families, stand up for the poor, stand up for the children, stand up for the elderly and the disabled, stand up for the minority communities that are under attack all across this country, if we're going to transform our country, we must have the courage to think big not small and have the courage to envisage a very different kind of America and a very different set of national priorities," he said.

"My friends, before the pandemic in the wealthiest nation on earth half of our people were living paycheck to paycheck. And millions were earning starvation wages. And since the pandemic, that situation has gotten even worse. Millions have lost their jobs, their income, their healthcare."

Defeating Trump is necessary as a first step, but we cannot and must not go back to business as usual.

— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 3, 2020

He pointed out that billionaires are doing "phenomenally well" and called for an "economy that works for working families."

"And that's what the progressive movement is all about," he said.

Newsweek has contacted Sanders and the Biden campaign for comment.

It is not the first time Sanders has suggested there needs to be change in the Democratic approach, having said previously that "for many, many years the Democratic Party has not paid the kind of attention to working-class needs that they should've."

In April, Sanders officially endorsed Biden and said he said he wanted "all Americans, every Democrat, every independent and a lot of Republicans to come together" to support Biden, branding Trump in his opinion the "most dangerous president in the modern history of this country."

Sanders' backing of Biden came amid some concern from younger voters that Biden would not be able to unify the Democratic party.

However, polling suggested supporters of Sanders had shifted to back Biden, at least in terms of planning to vote him over Trump. Though figures suggested that though they might be voting Biden, they were not inclined to support him with donations as they did Sanders, with only a small percentage of those who backed the Vermont senator later going on to give money to Biden's campaign.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a protest calling for the Republican Senate to delay the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Nominee Amy Coney Barrett at the U.S. Capitol on October 22, 2020. Having previously ran for the Democratic presidential candidacy, he has encouraged voters to back his former rival and now candidate Joe Biden. Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Care In Action