Bernie Sanders heaped praise on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as several thousand supporter streamed into Northrop Auditorium Tuesday afternoon.
Among the things Sanders promised in Clinton presidency were free college tuition for all families earning under $125,000 a year, child care, pre-k education, and reduced housing prices. His way of paying for this stayed consistent, with a clear aim at taxing the upper class so that “they pay their fair share.”
“At the top of my list of crises is the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality that exists,” Sanders said, “We should not be a nation in which in the last 16 years if you can believe it we have seen a tenfold increase in billionaires. Tenfold increase, from 51 to 540 billionaires. We should not be a nation which in many respects is moving toward oligarchy.”
Sanders praised Clinton for her support for raising the federal minimum wage up from its “starvation wage” status. He was firmly fixed on the economic agenda for the majority of his speech, also listing the supposed gender wage gap, higher taxes on the wealthy, and condemning free trade agreements, especially NAFTA, even though the Clintons were instrumental in its creation.
At the same time as condemning the Trump campaign’s divisiveness, Sanders was keen to make use of identity politics along racial and gender lines. Harking back far before the 2016 election, Sanders also spent time chastising the United States for sins of its past. This includes slavery, and denying the women the vote.
“This country has struggled since the inception of our nation with racism, with discrimination,” Sanders said, “The cornerstone of [Trump’s] campaign is bigotry and dividing us up.”
Sanders had no comment regarding rights of political expression, a subject which the Minnesota Republican Party targeted him on this morning. The topic has been in Twin Cities’ news several times recent as Trump supporters on have been subject to vandalism, and assault both verbal and physical.
“The Democrats are clearly worried about how Hillary Clinton will do in Minnesota this November,” Minnesota College Republicans Chair Amanda Peterson said in a press conference this morning, “Which is why they are intimidating open Trump supporters on campuses, vandalizing pro-Trump messages, and sending Bernie Sanders to the two largest schools in Minnesota today to campaign on Secretary Clinton’s behalf. This is incredibly embarrassing on the part of the Democrats, who seemingly fear a free and open dialogue on political issues facing this country today on college campuses.”
Sanders had a long list of introductory speakers, including Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, and Congressman Keith Ellison.
“A Hillary Clinton presidency would mean a president who is ready to enact the most progressive platform ever,” Hodges said, “One that Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine have based their campaign on, one that sets out a clear progressive vision for our country’s future, and one that Senator Bernie Sanders and his supporters played an enormous role in creating.”
Sanders received several standing ovations throughout his speech, he will also be making a stop at the University of Minnesota-Duluth on Tuesday.