People came from all over to listen to Senator Bernie Sanders speak at Keene State College. Unlike the last time he was here, though, Sanders was standing on the Redfern Stage promoting his former presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton, and former Gov. Maggie Hassan as she runs for the United States Senate.
550 audience members packed into the seats of the Redfern Arts Center at KSC for Sanders’ Keene, NH leg on Clinton’s “Stronger Together” campaign about a month before election day.
Opening the event were students and other Clinton and Sanders supporters echoing their praises of Sanders’ support of America’s college students including KSC Democrats President Tyler Croteau and American Democracy Project Member Sara Myers. Former Governor and democratic New Hampshire Senate candidate Maggie Hassan came to the stage prior to introducing sanders to show her support for her fellow party member, as well as campaign for herself, noting a few things about Donald Trump and her opponent Republican New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte in the process.
“It is really clear that the stakes couldn’t be higher this election,” Hassan said. Later continuing about Ayotte’s efforts to defund planned parenthood, overturn Roe v. Wade, voting to raise the retirement age, and her supposed opposition of campaign finance reform.
“What is absolutely clear, is that New Hampshire cannot afford the Ayotte-Trump agenda,” Hassan said.
After taking the stage, Sanders first addressed the crowd and thanked his supporters for their efforts during the New Hampshire primary and in the time leading up to the Democratic National Convention. Sanders noted that many of the points that he and his supporters were fighting for ended up on the Democratic platform.
“The victory that we won here in New Hampshire allowed us to run a strong national campaign and the ideas that we fought for ended up in the Democratic platform, a platform that I will do everything I can to make sure is implemented,” Sanders said.
However, no matter what side voters take on election day, Sanders insisted that this election was not solely about Trump or Clinton, or a sensationalized popularity contest between the two of them, but about the issues facing the country and the best way to move forward.
“Our job is to take a look at what these candidates stand for and what they are going to do for us and our kids and our parents. That’s what this campaign is about,” Sanders said
Sanders went on to praise both Hassan and Clinton, noting that they have worked together on proposals involving free, public college tuition, environmental sustainability and healthcare.
In addition, the Vermont independent aimed negative remarks towards Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Sanders knocked Trump and ex pressed his concern of a social setback of racial and gender relations if trump were to be elected, as well as Trump’s alleged preferential treatment of the upper-class billionaires with his support of legislation of the estate tax and other legislation while taking influence away from the lower and middle-class.
“We have incredibly brave people from New Hampshire, Vermont, all over this country who put their lives on the line and sometimes die in order to defend American Democracy, and let me tell you that I am very frightened about the movement in this country toward an oligarchic form of society and the undermining of American democracy,” Sanders said.
Toward the end of his time on stage, Sanders expressed that in order to fight back against income equality, racism and other social issues the United States, the people need to be willing to stand up for their rights, and a step in fighting those issues, according to sanders, is to vote democrat on the Presidential Ballot.
“Real change takes place when people have the courage to be committed politically, to stand up and fight for justice. Weather it is ending racism, weather it is ending sexism, whether it is ending homophobia,” Sanders said.
“…. Our job is to begin to stand up and to elect Hillary Clinton and Maggie on November eight,” he said.
While Sanders is no longer on the presidential ballot this coming November, students and others who attended the event still expressed their continued support for the Vermont senator and said that Sanders’ support of Clinton swayed them to side with the former Secretary of State.
“I’d rather back the person that backs the candidate that won. If Bernie can find even a fraction of something that he agrees with [Clinton] over Trump than I have to go for it,” KSC first-year Griffin Romprey said.
According to an ongoing poll by the Huffington Post, as of Oct. 8, Clinton leads Trump 43 percent to 38.1 percent of NH voters. 11.1 percent of voters are leaning towards other candidates and 7.8 percent were reported as being undecided.
Jacob Barrett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org