Former Democratic presidential primary candidate and longtime independent Vermont senator Bernie Sanders campaigned on behalf of his one-time opponent, Hillary Clinton, in Kalamazoo last Wednesday, November 2.
Introduced by Western Michigan University professor and Democratic candidate for Congress Paul Clements at Miller Auditorium, Sanders dedicated much of his speech to stressing many of his campaign’s core principles, including fighting government corruption, oligarchic society, climate change, economic inequality, and voter suppression.
Even so, Sanders made sure to directly mention both presidential candidates on numerous occasions, and was especially critical of Clinton’s Republican opponent, Donald Trump. Sanders condemned Trump’s controversial comments regarding Muslims, Latinos, African Americans, and women, as well as his involvement in the “birther” movement, which Sanders called “a racist effort to undermine the legitimacy of the first African American president in our history.”
The Vermont senator asked voters to counter Trump’s rhetoric by going “beyond personality” when casting their ballots the following Tuesday.
“The choice is clear,” Sanders said. “Secretary Clinton’s stance on every issue is far, far superior to Trump’s.”
Though rally attendees consisted primarily of Western Michigan University students and faculty, Kalamazoo College was also represented by a number of sophomores and even a few first-years.
Sanders made a point to speak directly to “young people and students,” such as those at WMU and K, making the argument that the young generation is on an “unprecedented” track to have a lower life expectancy and standard of living than their parents before them. “With your support, we will not allow that to happen,” he vowed amid cheers and applause.
Sanders also stressed the importance of voting on numerous occasions, calling it “imperative” to electing not only Hillary Clinton, but Democratic congresspeople such as Paul Clements.
“I want this country to have one of the highest voter turnout rates in the world, not one of the lowest,” Sanders declared, before reiterating his support for future legislation that would create automatic voter registration in the United States.
Even so, Sanders maintained throughout his speech that “politics does not end on election day,” and concluded his 50-minute speech by emphasizing: “On the day after election day, we have got to continue our efforts… think big, not small, stand together, and we’re going to win not only this election, but we are going to transform this country.”