The Clarion

Madison turns out for Bernie Sanders

Progressive candidate finds vocal support in state capitol

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Madison turns out for Bernie Sanders

Democratic Presidential canidate Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke to a capacity crowd at the Orpheum in downtown Madison on March 30.

Democratic Presidential canidate Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke to a capacity crowd at the Orpheum in downtown Madison on March 30.

Nicolas LaMorte

Democratic Presidential canidate Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke to a capacity crowd at the Orpheum in downtown Madison on March 30.

Nicolas LaMorte

Nicolas LaMorte

Democratic Presidential canidate Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke to a capacity crowd at the Orpheum in downtown Madison on March 30.

Mouna Alagahaithi and Nicolas LaMorte, Stafff writers

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In the days ahead of the Wisconsin primary held on Tuesday, April 5, the 2016 presidential candidates from both parties flocked to America’s dairyland. The uber progressive Bernie Sanders, who is a self described Democratic Socialist, returned to Madison for a town hall style event at The Orpheum.  Doors opened at noon to a line of people of all demographics stretching as far away as Carol Street and East Johnson.

After nearly two hours of ushering members of the public and press to their seats the rally began when the Vermont Senator was introduced by Sara Bringman, a UW-Madison professor of special education.

Bringman spoke of the issues educators have been struggling against in this state and around the country. “We are facing a crisis in the world of education, especially in the field of special education.” According to Bringman, every year the University of Wisconsin’s School of Education draws in less and less students. The number of students pursuing a career in teaching has been dropping startlingly year after year, attributing the shortage to legislation and rhetoric used by Republicans in the media.  As well as actions taken by Scott Walker that have made it, as Bringman stated, “… fiscally irresponsible to pursue a career as a teacher.” Sanders, she said, is the man we want in the White House if we are to change the way teachers are perceived and treated in this country.

Wild cheering erupted from the at capacity auditorium as the 74 year old Brooklyn, NY, native sauntered onto stage. As the Senator took to the podium, he raised his arms in his signature style and requested to have the stage lights turned down. Turning to the supporters seated behind him in the stands, he asked, “it’s a little bright up here isn’t?”

Sanders spoke for nearly an hour, following his usual routine of focusing on the issues of wealth and income inequality, healthcare, taxing the very rich and closing cost cutting loopholes for the country’s largest corporations. Sanders did shift focus slightly, going into specifics of how Wisconsin’s biggest businesses have taken advantage of “disastrous” trade agreements, like the TPP, which have allowed companies to move their operations to other parts of the world, including Mexico, China, instead of paying Wisconsin workers $20.00 an hour, they can pay workers in developing countries wages less than $1.00 an hour.

“Since 2001 we have lost 60,000 factories in America, not all can be attributed to trade agreements, but some can. GM’s plant was shut down and moved to Mexico. In 1996 Brew City Valve moved to Mexico. Johnson Controls moved to Mexico, China and Slovakia. Rockwell Automation had 6,000 employees in Wisconsin, now they have around 300… now mostly in Mexico, China, and the Dominican Republic.”

Sanders also highlighted the importance of the Wisconsin primary on April 5, which had not only presidential hopefuls on the ballots, but also candidates running for a seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court.

“If there is a high voter turnout, we will win,” Sanders assured the crowd, speaking not only of himself, but of Joanne Kloppenburg, the sole opponent of the Gov. Scott Walker backed Justice Rebecca Bradley.

The Senator also spoke on Gov. Walker’s and other Republicans’ attempts to suppress voter turnout. “We need to revitalize American democracy by encouraging more people to vote, not make it harder to do so.”

Near the end of his speech, Sanders commented on the campaign of Donald Trump, calling out the billionaire’s divisive rhetoric, and stated that if we are to create real change in this country, we need to come together, not stand apart.

“I guarantee that Donald Trump will not be our next president,” because, Sanders believes, Trump does not reflect the values of the majority of American people.

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Madison turns out for Bernie Sanders