GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders was in Grand Rapids Thursday to campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, arguing the former secretary of state’s plans are the best for regular families.
“What a campaign is about, it’s not ugly 30-second TV ads and it’s not polls and it’s not political gossips. What a campaign is about are the real issues impacting the middle class and working families of this country,” he said.
Speaking before a boisterous crowd at Innovation Central High School on Fountain Street, Sanders started out by saying that “any objective person would conclude” that former Clinton is “far and away” the better candidate in this presidential race.
Grand Rapids was among four stops Sanders made in Michigan — a state he won in the primaries — to stump for Clinton. After a hard-fought battle that lasted almost all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the senator from Vermont said he will now crisscross the country to make sure than the woman who was once his rival becomes president.
Before the event, Sanders told 24 Hour News 8 Political Reporter Rick Albin he is satisfied that a lot of the issues he raise don the campaign trail are now part of Clinton’s platform.
“It is by far the most progressive platform in the history of American politics,” he said. “It talks about Wall Street’s greed and breaking up the large banks. It talks about transforming our energy system. It talks about raising the minimum wage to a living wage. It talks about health care for all people. It talks about what we have to do to protect a middle class which today is in a lot of trouble.”
“I would ask young people and all voters to take a hard look at the agenda that Secretary Clinton is bringing forth,” Sanders continued. “She is talking about a proposal that I worked with her on to make public colleges and universities tuition-free, which would be of huge help to thousands and thousands of families in Michigan. Raising the minimum wage to a living wage. Pay equity for women. The understanding that climate change is real and we have to protect the planet for our children and our grandchildren. I think if you look at her record and you compare it to Donald Trump’s, I think the evidence is overwhelming that her record if far superior for working families than Mr. Trump’s.”
Sanders got a big cheer when he mentioned pay equity for women during his speech.
He praised President Barack Obama when discussing the economy, saying progress had been made since he took office, but also said that more needs to be done to fight poverty, including here in Michigan. He said Clinton supported increasing the federal minimum wage and had a plan to create jobs by putting people to work to rebuild “crumbling” infrastructure.
He hit on a number of other issues, including decreasing the cost of education, criminal justice reform, race relations and policing, comprehensive immigration reform and expanding access to health care.
Sanders also took aim at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, pounding him on the recent report indicating the real estate mogul may not have paid federal income taxes for years.
“What Donald Trump showed the people of this country is that if you are a billionaire like Trump, if you own mansions all over the world, if you live in the lap of luxury, you don’t have to pay any federal income tax. That’s what Trump showed us,” he said as the crowd booed. “That is a rigged tax system. And what Trump and his billionaire friends are saying (is), ‘Why do we have to pay taxes? We’ve got the middle class. We’ve got working people. They’ll pay the taxes. We get the loopholes.’ Well, I say to Mr. Trump and his billionaire friends: We are going to change that corrupt tax system. You are going to begin paying your fair share of taxes.”
He slammed Trump for having merchandise manufactured in other countries even as he speaks out against trade deals that send jobs overseas.
“Tell us why you manufacture your ties in China, your clothes in Mexico and your furniture in Turkey,” Sanders demanded of Trump. “Stop talking the talk. Start walking the walk.”
He wrapped up by urging the crowd to “get involved” because Michigan is pivotal to the election.