The Rapidian

Bernie Sanders campaign rally draws major crowd in Grand Rapids

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders called for his suppporters to back presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders was in Grand Rapids on Oct. 6, campaigning in support of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Sanders' call for political revolution met with a more enthusiastic response than his backing of Clinton. 

 

"People came more to hear from Bernie, rather than to support Hillary," said LuAnne Kozma, coordinator for Green Party candidate Jill Stein

Hundreds of Grand Rapids residents filled the auditorium of Central Innovation High School, with more individuals wearing Bernie Sanders t-shirts and buttons than Hillary Clinton apparel. 

 

When Sanders took the stage at 7 p.m., the audience thundered with applause and waved signs reading "the DNC robbed Bernie" and "we're feeling the Bern."

 

Sanders made the case that Clinton would support middle-class families and push for tuition-free public universities and affordable health care. 

 

"Anybody in Michigan who takes a hard look at the real issues knows that Hillary Clinton is the superior candidate for president of the United States," Sanders said.

 

Sanders criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his connection to the birther movement and making derogatory remarks toward women and minorities.

 

"The centerpiece of Trump's campaign is bigotry," Sanders said.

 

Mentions of Clinton drew mild applause, while enthusiastic cries of "we voted for you Bernie" could be heard throughout the speech. 

 

With Clinton's approval rating at a historic low point, it remains an open question whether Sanders supporters will turn out for Clinton in November. 

 

For Sanders supporter Celia Sayed, Sanders' decision to back Clinton is a pragmatic choice to ensure the ongoing success of his political movement.

 

"I'm supporting Hillary even though I have a lot of doubts," Sayed said. "I don't like Hillary's relationship with the military-industrial complex and Wall Street. But the only way we can get Bernie's values and issues dealt with is to have Hillary in office."

 

Jill Stein supporters in attendance remained skeptical of Clinton, opposing the idea of settling for an unpopular candidate. 

 

"People who are undecided should vote their conscience," Kozma said. "Every candidate has to earn their votes."

 

Clinton campaign volunteer Jessie Schmidt questioned the wisdom of those supporting a third-party candidate, pointing to the tight race between Clinton and Trump.

 

"Bernie has my heart, and Hillary has my vote," Schmidt said. "I will not throw my vote away on a third-party protest vote."

 

Sanderw will make four additional campaign stops throughout Michigan before taking off for other states.

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