Bernie Sanders: Rahm Emanuel's Re-Election Is Proof Citizens United Decision Stinks

04/08/2015 06:29 pm ET | Updated Apr 08, 2015

In an interview with HuffPost Live Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) lamented the result of Chicago’s mayoral election following the tense, expensive runoff between Rahm Emanuel and challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Sanders said he supported Cook County Commissioner Garcia because “he had put together a strong coalition of working-class people, blacks and whites and Hispanics, and that is what we need to do all over this country.”

He added he was especially disappointed by the drastic disparity between the more than $23 million in campaign cash Emanuel raised in the race -- money that bankrolled what the Chicago Tribune called a “nonstop stream” of TV ads -- and the $6 million Garcia challenger raised. (Among Emanuel's campaign contributors were hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin and billionaire finance executive Michael Sacks.)

“[Garcia] was outspent in that election 5-, 6-, 7-to-1, and I am wondering whether as a result of this terrible Citizens United decision, which says to billionaires you can now spend as much money as you want on elections, I am worried about whether any candidate who represents the working class and the middle class of this country will ever be able to beat the billionaire class,” Sanders said.

“So the lesson of Chicago is, you know, big money put a lot of money into Rahm Emanuel. We’re seeing this all over the country,” Sanders continued, “and unless we overturn this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, I worry about the future of American democracy.”

While being drastically out-fundraised by Emanuel was certainly a factor in Garcia’s loss, other political pundits have pointed out the challenger, who was defeated by a margin of more than 64,000 votes and 11 percentage points, missed a number of opportunities to articulate his plan for Chicago and strike back at Emanuel in a way that resonated with a wider swath of voters.

Watch the interview above.

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