Bernie Sanders Rallies for Michigan Democrats By Ruby Taylor

More than a thousand people gathered in Rackham Auditorium on Friday, Oct. 19 to hear some of Michigan's Democratic candidates, including gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer, speak. Along with the majority of the state-wide blue ticket, United States Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke to inspire people to vote.

Despite the 50 degree weather and cold rain, hundreds waited in a line that curved around the block outside the theatre with the hopes of a spot in the overflow auditorium.
"In a world where people want to build walls, we need to get back to building bridges."

Gubernatorial candidate Whitmer gave an inspiring speech to an excited crowd. She spoke about the importance of voting and encouraging others to do so. She spoke about her love of Michigan, the importance of taking action on the Flint Water Crisis, her admiration of public schools in Michigan and our basic infrastructure.

"In a political environment where it is easy to feel demoralized, easy to feel like it doesn't matter, and easy to feel angry about what we see everyday breaking news on CNN, we have an opportunity in 18 days to show the world what kind of leadership we think we deserve." Whitmer said.

Whitmer spoke about her campaign's symbol, the Mackinac Bridge. She chose the image to represent herself because "[the bridge] connected our people and made our economy stronger," Whitmer said. "In a world where people want to build walls, we need to get back to building bridges."

She ended by calling every woman who cares about the autonomy of her body and her choices, every person who cares that the people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community have civil rights, everyone who wants to make sure that everyone has clean drinking water, everyone who wants an affordable degree, everyone who stands for workers rights, and everyone who believes that we need a governor who cares more about the children and their parents and educators than they do Betsy Devos to stand up and do their part in making sure that the Democrats win from "the top of the ballot to the bottom."

"We are ready to show up for you. The people in our state are counting on all of us to set the stage for the future of Michigan." Whitmer said.

The night ended with a greatly anticipated speech by Sanders. He began by addressing the drastic importance of voting, and of fighting voter suppression. He encouraged people to speak with others who are unsure about voting, and drive to the ground the seriousness of the influence voters have.

He expressed disdain towards the Trump administration's actions toward climate change and health care. "What we need in Washington, and what we need in Michigan, is leadership that has the guts to tell the big money interests and campaign contributors that democracy is not for sale," Sanders said. "We need to tell them that we're going to have a government where people who are elected are going to represent the interests of working families and the middle class and not simply the billionaire class."

"I believe that this coming midterm election is the most important midterm election in the modern history of our country."

Sanders said that his ideas about politics and were once seen as extremist or radical, but are now supported by the majority of America. He added that most Americans believe the minimum wage should become higher, the racist criminal justice system must be changed, everyone should have clean water running from their faucets and that women should have the right to choose what happens to their bodies. He expressed the importance of governors across the country understanding that women's rights issues should be in the hands of women themselves.

Pictured top left to bottom right: Lieutenant Governor Nominee Garlan Glichrist, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, State Representative Yousef Rabbi, Michigan Supreme Court candidate Sam Bagenstos, State Senator Rebekah Warren and Michigan Secretary of State nominee Joselyn Benson.

Along with Whitmer and Sanders, a number of other democratic elected officials and candidates spoke about their platforms and beliefs and encouraged people to use their power and vote.

"The essence of democracy is that we vote, and hold accountable the people we elect." Sanders said.

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