Hundreds of residents squeezed into the UAW Local 72 Hall in Kenosha Monday for one final push to ensure a Democratic win on Election Day.
Residents and elected officials joined former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to rally ballot support for Democratic 1st District congressional candidate Randy Bryce, and to lobby others to vote Nov. 6.
Marina Dimitrijevic, state director of Wisconsin Working Families Party, which hosted the rally, called for support for Bryce’s campaign
“I, like you, want a brighter future for my family,” said Dimitrijevic, who has a 2-year-old son and a second child due in a few weeks. “I’m terrified to think that my children might grow up in Trump’s divided America. And my family sees hope in Randy Bryce ... We know he will go in Congress and deliver not just for my family, but for all of us. It’s exactly what we need right now.”
John Drew, former UAW Local 72 president and WI Working Families Party member, also supported Bryce. Having a working man in office is all the more important “after decades of Paul Ryan selling us out,” he said.
Former Ohio state senator and president of Our Revolution Nina Turner made it clear it is not just the prosperity of working families that is at stake in the November election, but “all we love is on the line.”
“People ask you why is it important to vote in this election and the next and the next, you just tell them that all that they love is on the line,” Turner said. “If they believe that we should have Medicare for all in this country ... if they believe our children and our children’s children deserve to inherit a country where they can live out their greatest greatness no matter what their walk of life is, they must get out there and vote.”
The greater issue, Turner said, is not only to take action, but to also not lose a love for humanity in divisive times.
She told the crowd they are “being tested to see if we have the courage enough and the conviction enough that, after we’ve done all that we can to continue to stand against bigotry and insensitivity, against a system that is rigged, that we collectively can unrig it.”
When Bryce took to the podium Monday, he said his main goal has been to fight for all.
“That’s why I fought during Act 10, for working people,” Bryce said, “because I saw my brothers and sisters under attack and I knew I had to do something. I had to fight for them, because they’re attacking public sector workers. I knew that they’d eventually come after mine.
“An attack on one of us really is an attack on all of us. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I keep fighting for all of us,” he said.
Bryce also had harsh words for Steil, who he claimed is completely out of touch with the struggles of the working class.
“Bottom line is that he’s a corporate attorney that doesn’t know what it’s like to suffer,” Bryce said. “He doesn’t know what it’s like to fall on hard times. He doesn’t know what it’s like to live in poverty, and how hard it is to make ends meet. His party keeps putting profits over people.”
“The people of southeast Wisconsin deserve more than what we’ve been getting for the last 20 years. I said it before, but it’s too important not to say again: This fight is far from over. It’s only a couple weeks away, but it’s still far from over. Together we did repeal Paul Ryan, but I’m going to need every single one of you to help me replace him,” Bryce said.
Sanders decried the dismissive, “radical” label put on Bryce’s ideas by his opponent — a label Sanders faced himself during the 2016 presidential election.
“Because we stood together fighting for justice, those ideas are not radical anymore. They’re supported by the vast majority of the American people,” Sanders said.
Together, he and Bryce will work to make sure that the economy works for all, not just the 1 percent, Sanders said.
“When we talk about an economy that works for everybody, we understand that if you work 40 hours a week in the United States of America, you should not be living in poverty,” Sanders said. “We are going to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, $15 an hour. And when we talk about fair wages, we’re going to end the disgrace of women making 80 cents on the dollar compared to men.”
Sanders also promised he and Bryce will both fight to make sure that women, not the government, control their own bodies, and they would both fight to make university and college tuition free and to lower student debt.
Sanders believes the November election is the most important in our lifetime, because it will show people around the world what American values are.
“Do we want to move toward an oligarchy in which a handful of wealthy people control our economic and political life? Do we want to be a country in which we’re supposed to be fighting with somebody else because the color of their skin is different or they were born in another country or their religion is different? That is not what America is about. And that is what this election is about,” he said.