MILWAUKEE -- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders emphasized his electability over Donald Trump and the momentum his campaign is seeing against Hillary Clinton before an animated crowd today.
Sanders said that after being considered a fringe candidate at the beginning of the race, polls show him beating Trump by “huge margins” and that he has beaten Clinton in six of the last seven contests.
“Not only have we won them, we have won them by landslide victories,” Sanders said to applause from the crowd at the Wisconsin Center.
Sanders had originally planned the rally, his last before the Wisconsin primary, for the BMO Harris Bradley Center. But attendance at a Sunday rally in UW-Madison’s Kohl Center drew about half of the crowd Sanders saw one week earlier at a different location in Wisconsin’s capital city, and today’s rally was moved to the smaller venue. Sanders’ campaign estimated a crowd of 2,400 attended Monday night.
Sanders focused on themes he’s hit on in other speeches this week, knocking Republican governors for what he described as them trying to suppress the vote and railing against money in politics.
He also expressed support for free college and student loan refinancing, rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, raising the minimum wage, gender pay equality, immigration reform, improved conditions for African Americans and Native Americans, environmental protection, universal health care, and reforming the criminal justice system and the nation’s drug laws.
Sanders called for investing in education over prisons.
“We are going to invest in young people’s education, not jails and incarceration,” Sanders said to cheers. “Our job is to keep people out of jail. I want to remind you, it costs less money to send a kid to the University of Wisconsin than to lock them up."
To loud rounds of applause and shouts of “Bernie, Bernie,” Sanders also repeated his criticisms against Gov. Scott Walker over voting rights, union rights, and abortion.
Sanders said that while the Affordable Care Act has improved the nation’s health care system, 29 million people still lack health insurance and people with insurance face high deductibles and high drug prices.
“We have to do what every major nation does, and that is pass a Medicare for all, single-payer system,” Sanders said.
Sanders said change comes from the bottom up, pointing to the struggles for women’s rights, same-sex marriage and the gains made by the movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Sanders said the establishment and the media want people to believe that conditions cannot change.
“Do not believe that,” Sanders said. “If we stand together and if we have a vision, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.”
Sanders called for supporters to turn out to vote and to bring others to the polls.
“Let us make Gov. Walker unhappy tomorrow,” Sanders said. “Let us have a huge voter turnout.”
-- By David Wise