And, let me take this opportunity to thank the many, many thousands of volunteers here in the granite state who worked so tirelessly. Our volunteers worked night and day, made phone calls, and knocked on a heck of a lot of doors, and we won because of your energy. Thank you all so much.
I want to thank Julia Bond and our great campaign staff. We have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California, and that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors, and their Super PACs.
Nine months ago we began our campaign here in New Hampshire. We had no campaign organization, we had no money, and we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America. Tonight, with what appears to be a record breaking voter turnout, because of a huge voter turnout -- and I say huge, we won. Because we harnessed the energy, and the excitement that the Democratic party will need to succeed in November.
What happened here in New Hampshire in terms of an enthusiastic, and aroused electorate, people who came out in large numbers. That is what will happen all over this country. Let us never forget, Democrats and progressives win when voter turnout is high. Republicans win when people are demoralized, and voter turnout is low.
Tonight, we served notice to the political and economic establishment of this country that the American people will not continue to accept a corrupt campaign finance system that is undermining American democracy, and we will not accept a rigged economy in which ordinary Americans work longer hours for lower wages, while almost all new income and wealth goes to the top 1%.
I want to take this opportunity again to congratulate Secretary Clinton and her organization and supporters for waging a vigorous campaign. I hope that in the days ahead we can continue to wage a strong, issue oriented campaign, and bring new people into the political process.
But, I also hope that we all remember -- and this is a message not just to our opponents, but to those who support me as well. That we will need to come together in a few months and unite this party, and this nation because the right-wing Republicans we oppose must not be allowed to gain the presidency.
As we all remember, the last time Republicans occupied the White House, their trickle down economic policies drove us into the worst economic downturn since the depression of the 1930's. No, we will not allow huge tax breaks for billionaires, we will not allow packed -- huge cuts to social security, veterans needs, Medicare, MedicAid, and education. No, we will not allow back into the White House a political party which is so beholden to the fossil fuel industry that they cannot even acknowledge the scientific reality of climate change (INAUDIBLE).
The people of New Hampshire have sent a profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and by the way, to the media establishment.
What the people here have said is given the enormous crises facing our country, it is just too late for the same old, same old establishment politics, and establishment economics. The people want real change. What the American people are saying -- and, by the way, I hear this not just from progressives, but from conservatives and from moderates, is that we can no longer continue to have a campaign finances system in which Wall Street and the billionaire class are able to buy elections.
Americans, no matter what their political view may be, understand that that is not what democracy is about. That is what oligarchy is about, and we will not allow that to continue. I do not have a Super PAC, and I do not want a Super PAC. I am overwhelmed, and I am deeply moved far more than I can express in words by the fact that our campaigns financial support comes from more than one million Americans who have made more than 3.7 million individual contributions. That is more individual contributions than any candidate in the history of the United States up until this point in an election.
And, you know what that average contribution was? $27 dollars.
I am going to New York City tonight and tomorrow, but I'm not going to New York City to hold a fundraiser on Wall Street. Instead, I'm going to hold a fundraiser right here, right now, across America. My request is please go to Berniesanders.com and contribute. Please help us raise the funds we need, whether it's $10 bucks, $20 bucks, or $50 bucks. Help up us raise the money we need to take the fight to Nevada, South Carolina, and the states on Super Tuesday.
So, there it is, that's our fundraiser. Pretty quick.
Now, what the American people understand is that our great country was based on a simple principal, and that principle is fairness. Let me be very clear, it is not fair when we have more income and wealth inequality today than almost any major country on Earth. And, when the top one-tenth of 1% now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%, that's not fair. It is not fair when the 20 wealthiest people in this country now own more wealth than the bottom half of the American people.
So, are you guys ready for a radical idea? Together we are going to create an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1%. And, when millions of our people are working for starvation wages, yep, we're going to raise the minimum wage to $15 bucks an hour. And, we are going to bring pay equity for women. And, when we need the best educated workforce in the world, yes, we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition free. And, for the millions of Americans struggling with horrendous levels of student debt, we are going to substantially ease that burden.
In America people should be financially distressed for decades for the crime, the crime of trying to get a higher education, that's absurd.
Well, my critics say, you know, Bernie, that's a great idea, you're into all this free stuff. How are you going to pay for it? I will tell you how we're going to pay for it. We're going to impose a tax on Wall Street speculation. The greed, the recklessness, and the illegal behavior drove our economy to its knees. The American people bailed out Wall Street, now it's Wall Street's time to help the middle class.
And, when we talk about transforming America, it means ending the disgrace of this country having more people in jail than any other country in the world, disproportionately African-American, and Latino. Not only are we going to fight to end institutional racism, and a broken criminal justice system, we are going to provide jobs and education for our young people, not jails and incarceration.
And, Let me say that as a member of the energy committee in the Senate, and the environmental committee, the debate is over. Climate change is real. It is caused by human activity, and it is already causing devastating problems in this country and around the world. We have a moral responsibility to work with countries throughout the world to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
Now, I have been criticized during this campaign for many, many things. Every single day, that's OK, that's alright. They're throwing everything at me except the kitchen sink, and I have the feeling that kitchen sink is coming pretty soon as well. But, what our campaign is about is thinking big, not small. It's about having the courage to reject the status quo. It's about saying that in a time when every major country on Earth guarantees healthcare to all of their people, we should be doing the same in our great country.
In my view, under President Obama's leadership, the Affordable Care Act has been an important step forward, no question about it. But, we can, and must, do better. Twenty-nine million Americans should not remain uninsured, an even greater number should remain under- insured with large deductibles and co-payments. We should not be paying by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs at a time -- listen to this, when the top three drug companies in this country made $45 billion dollars in profit last year. That is an obscenity, and let me tell you something. When we make it to the White House, the pharmaceutical industry will not continue to rip-off the American people.
Further, it makes no sense that as a nation we continue to spend far, far more per capita than do the people of any other nation, all of whom guarantee healthcare to all of their people. That is why I believe in a Medicare for all, single-payer program which will not only guarantee healthcare for all, but will save the average middle class family thousands of dollars a year in health care costs.
My friends, we all know that we live in a dangerous and complex world. As president I will defend this nation, but I will do it responsibly. I voted against the war in Iraq, and that was the right vote. While we must be relentless in combating terrorist who would do us harm, we cannot, and should not be the policeman of the world. Nor should we bear the burden of fighting terrorism alone.
In the Middle East, the United States must remain part of an international coalition sustained by nations in the region that have the means to protect themselves. Together we must, and will, destroy ISIS, but we should do it in a way that does not put our young men and women in the military into perpetual warfare in the quagmire of the Middle East.
My friends, we must fix our broken immigration system that divides families, and create a path towards citizenship for hardworking people who are living in the shadows.
We must strengthen and expand Social Security, and increase the benefits that seniors, and disabled vets receive so that people can live in dignity in their retirement. We must rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and when we do that, we create millions of decent paying jobs.
We must pursue the fight for women's rights, for gay rights, for disability rights. We must against stronger, and stronger, opposition protect the right of a woman to control her own body.
We must protect the men and women who serve our nation in uniform, and protect our veterans who put their lives on the line to defend us.
My friends, we must tell the billionaire class and the 1% that they cannot have it all at a time of massive wealth and income inequality, the wealthiest people and largest corporations in this country will start their paying their fair share of taxes.
My friends, I am the son of a Polish immigrant who came to this country speaking no English, and having no money. My father worked everyday of his life, and he never made a whole lot. My Mom and Dad, and brother and I grew up in a small three and a half room, rent controlled apartment in Brooklyn, New York. My Mother, who died at a young age, always dreamed of moving out of that apartment, getting a home of her own, but she never realized that dream.
The truth is that neither one of my parents could ever have dreamed that I would be here tonight standing before you as a candidate for President of the United States.
This is the promise of America, and this is the promise we must keep alive for future generations. What began last week in Iowa, what voters here in New Hampshire confirm tonight, is nothing short of the beginning of a political revolution.
It is a political revolution that will bring tens of millions of our people together. It will bring together working people who have given up on the political process. It will bring together young people who have never participated in the political process. It will bring together blacks, and whites, latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, straight and gay, male and female. People who were born in America, and people who immigrated here.
We will all come together to say loudly, and clearly that the government of our great nation belongs to all of us, not just a few wealthy campaign contributors. That is what this campaign is about, that is what the political revolution is about. So, New Hampshire, thank you again. And, now it's time.
Thank you, New Hampshire. And, now it's on to Nevada, South Carolina, and beyond.