Yesterday afternoon, at Adams Field at Michigan State University, in what was a dreary, rainy, pretty humid day, hundreds of mostly college students congregated to see and listen to a real political rock star: Sen. Bernie Sanders.
With just 33 days until the election, it is clear that the push to register voters, Democratic voters, and to excite the base to vote Democratic, sending Bernie Sanders to a critical state like Michigan, where he won the primary way back when was the right thing to do.
His message was both very simple and very profound: this is not about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump; it is about democracy and the very foundation on which this great country was founded.
Sen. Sanders is quite self-aware and knows that his brigade of supporters are still smarting from the primary season, where the political romance millions of voters had for him, his agenda and ideas left them terribly devastated when the process was over and he was not the candidate. He gets that but he also gets what is at stake on November 8th and he wants YOU to get that, too.
In a message Sen. Sanders delivered as he crossed that state yesterday, his comments were felt strongly and cheered loudly.
“I hope you do everything you can to see Secretary Clinton is elected,” Sanders exclaimed. “Donald Trump is running a campaign of bigotry and I say to Mr. Trump, We have spent too long fighting bigotry and we are not going back.”
As national and statewide polls have shown over the past week, Hillary Clinton is starting to pull ahead, but polls don’t vote, people do. So, as part of a national strategy to get people to register to vote and check to make sure their registration is up to date, IWillVote.com is the one stop shop for it all. It’s very simple to navigate and use. In fact, to test it, as I have just moved and changed my registration, I was shocked to find out that my OLD polling place was still on the books. That allowed me to make sure it was properly changed with the Michigan Sectary of State, but it was my visit to IWillVote.com that saved my voting ass!
A few of the students I spoke with, including Jessica Jessup, a sophomore from the Monroe, said she was always with Hillary Clinton, but brought along six friends to get registered and to show them why Hillary was the only choice, telling me, “The thought of Donald Trump being anywhere near the White House, even to visit, is more than enough to vote for Hillary. But my vote is not an anti-Trump vote, it is very much a pro-Hillary vote.”
One of her tag-alongs, James McIntyre of Traverse City, was undecided until he heard Sanders, but said his was an anti-Trump vote. It’s not that Hillary Clinton is viewed negatively by this college freshman. He just doesn’t see her as being as energetic and powerful as President Obama. He also said that early on he thought Trump was a real option. That is until “he opened his mouth.”
Jane Westmoreland, a senior political science major from Ontonagon, was a fervent Bernie Sanders supporter and organizer even making very long trips home to canvass her area. Her disappointment, as many Sanders’ supporters shared, was that the system seemed to favor Hillary Clinton and the leaked memos from the Democratic National Committee just reinforced her fears. But, once the “dust settled and I came to my senses, I ealized what was at stake and working for Hillary got easier every day.”
The handful of people I was able to get to before they quickly disbursed because of the rain were all registered, ready, and working to get others registered, as well.
There was a small protest just at the fringe of the event, but none of them would talk to me except to call me names that Chris Savage does not like us to use on the blog, not even knowing what media organization I was with. Once I identified myself as being with the media, a true Trumpian distaste was well observed and expressed. It was actually quite funny. The media? What a**holes we ALL are, right?
As Chris Savage posted yesterday, latest polls show Hillary up in Michigan by 11 points and, as he also wrote, that should scare us. I also believe that Hillary Clinton is NOT taking Michigan for granted which is why she will be in Detroit on Monday. She knows with great certainty that every vote matters and, like most of what she knows, this is true, too.
The clock is ticking and I would expect that over the course of the next 33 days we’ll see more surrogates,as we will on Saturday when icon and feminist Gloria Steinem (I’ll be covering her event in East Lansing on Saturday night at the Wharton Center) comes to Michigan for a few stops, including Ann Arbor, to make sure all women understand what a Trump presidency would mean for them.
Listen, at the sake of sounding condescending, not everyone follows politics as closely as you and I do, dear reader, and MANY voters are now only beginning to pay attention and make their decision. Sunday night’s debate is crucial to Hillary Clinton, but so are all of us.
Bernie Sanders made that clear yesterday, now we need to deliver that message to the rest of the electorate.
As Chris Savage is also fond of sharing, #GOTMFV