Senator Sanders Comes to Town

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders graced the Dartmouth student body with his presence. Sanders led a get-out-the-vote rally for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. Sanders officially endorsed Clinton this past July after spending months as her rival in the primary. During the primary campaign, Sanders labeled her as “unqualified” to be president, pointing to the many questionable aspects of her political career.

U.S. Representative Ann McLane Kuster began the town-hall-style meeting, setting the tone for the event to center around the issues rather than the candidate herself. Congresswoman Kuster cycled through seemingly all of the liberal talking points, from climate change (citing the most recent summer in New Hampshire as evidence) to raising the minimum wage and combating the gender pay gap. She then concluded by bragging about New Hampshire’s all-female congressional delegation and confidently predicting the election of the first female president, which was met with applause.

The next speaker, Governor Maggie Hassan, continued the trend. Hassan began by explaining how she is the best candidate for Senate. She then transitioned to the issues upon which most people present presumably agreed. She took credit for the low unemployment rate in New Hampshire, jabbed rival Kelly Ayotte, and covered a few of the issues untouched by Kuster. After referencing high college tuition, Bernie was set to take the stage.

The crowd met Bernie with applause, and he went right into the most convincing argument for Hillary as president—the argument against Trump. Sanders explained that his motivation for stopping Trump was the fact that he has grandchildren. He said he fears a Trump presidency for their sake. For the remainder of the speech, Bernie smartly avoided talking much about Hillary herself.  Following the trend set by Kuster and Hassan, he went through a wide range of liberal talking points, yet did not get into much of an affirmative case for Hillary, except that she is “better” than Trump by those standards.

The main purpose behind Bernie’s visit to Dartmouth and to other colleges was to redress the damage done in the primaries. By attacking Hillary earlier on for her support of the Iraq War, the questionably run Clinton Foundation, and more about her character, Bernie exposed many serious flaws in her candidacy. He is now attempting to walk back his many criticisms in fear of a Trump victory. Bernie aims to temporarily reverse all of the anti-establishment sentiment that he generated during the primaries and make sure that all of his former supporters (many of whom were college students) go to Hillary rather than a third party option, such as Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.

Bernie’s new crusade to justify Clinton’s record has focused mainly on attacking Trump’s lifestyle and campaign. Yet after WikiLeaks’ released private Democratic National Committee emails, the claims made by Sanders early on are ever-so relevant. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, along with the rest of the leadership of the DNC, has been exposed for rigging the process for Hillary since the beginning. Many DNC higher-ups attempted to influence the primary in favor of Hillary, even planning to target Bernie’s religion to sway religious voters.

With Hillary and Trump as the major presidential nominees, many Americans are left with a tricky decision to make, and those who voted for Sanders in the primary are no exception. But in the end, for former Bernie supporters, it will all come down to what wins out: the anti-establishment movement that Bernie helped fuel (voting Johnson or Trump) or the strict policy adherence (voting Clinton).