Sanders: Build economy for more that top 1 percent
March 11, 2016 7:49 PM
Brittany Greeson/The New York Times
Brooklyn Fox, 22, left, and Sydney Parker, 25, right, hold signs as Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaks during a rally at the SeaGate Convention Centre in Toledo, Ohio,Friday afternoon.
By Tom Troy / Block News Alliance
Bernie Sanders talked unfair trade deals and promised to tax “greedy” Wall Street to pay for free public college tuition at the SeaGate Centre today in Toledo while urging a big turnout in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
Mr. Sanders drew some 2,400, many of whom had waited outside the SeaGate Convention Centre since morning.
He picked up the surprise endorsement of U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, a former colleague in the House of Representatives, who shares his antipathy for Wall Street and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“We are going to build an economy that works for workers, that works for seniors, that works for veterans, and not just for the top 1 percent,” Mr. Sanders said, stabbing the air in his trademark way.
The U.S. senator from Vermont is vying with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination to run in November. The Ohio primary is Tuesday but early voting is already under way.
“In Michigan last Tuesday there was a huge turnout and some precincts ran out of ballots,” Mr. Sanders said, referring to the election that he won. “If we can have a similar turnout here in Ohio, we're going to win next Tuesday.”
He said NAFTA is one of his areas of disagreement with Mrs. Clinton. She supported that and other international agreements that knocked down trading barriers while he did not.
“They said it was going to create all kinds of jobs in America. I didn’t believe that for one second. In 1995 I was on the picket lines opposition to that. You don’t need a PhD to understand that a trade agreement written by corporate America was to force American workers to compete against desperately poor people all over the world. American workers should not have to compete against people making pennies an hour,” Mr. Sanders said.
Senator Sanders criticized the conditions created for Mexican workers now making products for some American firms.
He was preceded on stage by Baldemar Velasquez, labor leader for Mexican-Amercan farm workers and member of the board of directors of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.
Miss Kaptur was the only member of the Ohio Democratic Congressional delegation to not endorse Mrs. Clinton. She made her preferance known in a surprise appearance today on the stage with Mr. Sanders.
Miss Kaptur thanked the crowd for "coming to build a stronger a better America. We love you and we desperately love this country and want it to be a country for all, not just the privileged few."
"I come here to introduce the next president of the United States," she said.
Mr. Sanders gave individual interviews to local news media, and could be heard using every opportunity to drive home his intense opposition to free trade deals that he said attempt to force Americans to compete with people earning pennies a day.
“People say to me, Bernie you’re a nice guy, you really can't win a general election in November,” he said, setting up the punch line. “Nearly every poll out there has me beating Donald Trump by double digits.”
He said the American people “will not accept a president who insults” Mexicans, Muslims, women, and “the African-American community.”
In the race for delegates, Mr. Sanders trails Mrs. Clinton 1,223-574. Ohio has 143 delegates up for grabs. It also has 16 ”super-delegates” who go to the convention unpledged. To secure the nomination, a candidate needs 2,382 delegates, and there are still 2,966 available.
People started lining up early for the event. First in line outside the convention center on Jefferson Avenue was 18-year-old Annabel Byrd, who left her McComb, Ohio, home near Findlay with five friends about 8:30 a.m.
“I just want to be an educated voter,” said Miss Byrd, who may have been one of the few undecided voters in the sea of “Bernie” stickers and signs. Her high school government teacher encouraged an interest in the political campaigns.
“Since it was close we just wanted to come see him. He could become President,” she said. The group packed a lunch and planned dinner afterward at Spaghetti Warehouse.
A strong Sanders supporter in the line waiting to get in was Zaira Adams, 22, of Fostoria.
“He’s what we need. He doesn’t discriminate against anybody. He is for all people,” said the factory worker, who came with her 2-year-old son and her mother.
She said the economy is tough for her.
“I feel like he can make a lot happen,” she said. “And with a child this age, I don’t want him growing up with [Donald] Trump there.”
Also worried about the effect of a Trump presidency was Hedyeh Elahinia, 18, of Sylvania, a biology student at the University of Toledo. As a Muslim and native of Iran who has lived in the United States most of her life, she said “scapegoating” of minorities bothers her.
“Demagoguing that we’ve been hearing from people like Donald Trump for what [people] look like and where they came from, I feel that’s un-American,” Miss Elahinia said.
John Trice, 54, drove from Carey to see what kind of crowd would turn out. The lab technician for Whirlpool Corp. said he’s been a Sanders supporter from the beginning of the campaign.
“I’m pleased to see the young people. It’s the young people’s time to shape the direction of our country. People my age have kind of left it a mess,” Mr. Trice said.
“Bernie is the one guy that I hear talking about ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ and I hope that catches on throughout the entire nation.”
A small group of people waved signs across the street in protest of Mr. Sanders’ political stance, which has been characterized as “Democratic socialist.”
Elora Scamardo, 17, of, Maumee, and her friend, Sean Kling, 18, of Toledo — both students at Maumee Valley Country Day School, said they didn’t think Mr. Sanders’ ideas fit the American system.
“My opinion is it’s bad for the country because his tax policies are not fully developed yet,” Elora said. Her sign said “Socialism is not the answer.” She and Mr. Kling said they also wanted to exercise their free speech rights.
Mr. Sanders is the first Democratic candidate to rally in Toledo. He held rallies in Michigan before upsetting Mrs. Clinton in that state’s primary election this week.
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