Bernie Sanders (file photo)

Bernie Sanders (file photo)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is telling Iowa audiences that politics is not a “spectator sport” and he’s aiming to spark higher voter turn-out in Iowa’s Caucuses.

“Don’t complain unless you are prepared to stand up and fight back,” Sanders said in Ames today, “and that is what this campaign is about.”

Sanders was on the Iowa State University campus over the noon-hour, delivering a lecture to a crowd of students and adults gathered in C.Y. Stephens Auditorium. Sanders outlined his core principles for “transforming America.” A “Medicare-For-All”, single-payer health care system and a tuition free education at the nation’s public colleges and universities are among his top priorities.

“Nothing that I have described to you today is utopian. It is not pie in the sky,” Sanders said. “In fact, much of what I have talked about to you today exists in other countries on Earth.”

Sanders spoke for over an hour, then took questions from the audience for about 20 minutes. Julie Cantrell-Paulson, part of the “Cyclones for Bernie” group, asked the second question.

“Young people should learn that the political process in America today is deeply, deeply flawed. It is flawed because you have a media and there are exceptions to this — there are some great writers, some great TV programs — but by and large, media looks at a presidential campaign like it was a football game or a soap opera,” Sanders said. “And what young people should learn…I learned this a long time ago: It is more important to ask the right questions than to give the right answers.”

Tonight, CNN is hosting a two-hour event that will feature conversations with Sanders as well as Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley. The candidates won’t be on the stage at Drake University at the same time and it’s not being called a “debate”. The Democratic National Committee has limited the number of sanctioned “debates” and the last one was held on the 17th of January in South Carolina. Tonight’s event starts at 8 p.m. Iowa time.

Republican candidates will gather in Des Moines Thursday evening for a debate hosted by FOX News.