Despite a shirtless protestor’s better efforts, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) stuck to his message of the importance of voter turnout when he campaigned in Campus Recreation, showing his support of Tallahassee Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.
Although Gillum was not present, fellow Democratic candidates, including his running mate Chris King and attorney general candidate Sean Shaw, assisted Sanders in stressing to the crowd of about 700 people the importance casting their ballots.
Out of the 857,266 Hillsborough county active registered voters, 2,265 have cast their votes so far for early voting, creating a 28.53 percent voting rate, according to the unofficial turnout form on the Hillsborough County website.
Shaw led a small group of people after the rally to the early voting polling location at The Yuengling Center.
Phones were raised high to take pictures of Sanders, but he wasted no time for publicity when he approached the platform stating, “Let me get to the point, how’s that?”
Sanders spoke to the USF crowd stating that the current generation of young people is the most progressive generation in the history of America.
“Your generation is leading this country in the struggles against racism, in the struggle against sexism, and the struggle against homophobia, religious bigotry, and your generation understands what (President) Donald Trump does not — which is that climate change is very real,” Sanders said.
However, Sanders was not impressed with the low USF polling results so far, stating that it is “pathetic.”
“Your views do not mean anything unless you participate in a political process and come out to vote,” Sanders said. “Your generation is the one that is going to be the most impacted by the decisions that are happening today.”
Sanders said four years ago, the U.S. had the lowest voter turnout since WWII, which meant that almost two out of three Americans did not participate in the election.
Sanders said he supports increasing teacher’s salaries and reducing student debt instead of reducing the tax bracket for billionaires, which he states Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is promoting.
“Andrew (Gillum) and I believe that in America, you should not be punished for getting a higher education,” Sanders said.
Women raised “Women for Gillum” signs high when Sanders said it should not be a governmental decision to alter women’s rights.
Sanders delved further into politics stating that it is an “international embarrassment” that America does not guarantee healthcare and subsequently stated that Gillum would move the state in that direction.
Coincidentally, Trump was also campaigning in Fort Myers on the same day.
“You guys have the potential to make history, the entire country is looking at Florida — that is the reason why Trump is here today,” Sanders said. “The Republicans are deathly afraid that Gillum is going to win and our job is to bring about their worst nightmare and elect Andrew Gillum.”
When speaking about his views on immigration, the criminal justice system and healthcare, Sanders said it is no secret that he disagrees with Trump on virtually everything.
“What Trump is trying to do in this country today for a president is unprecedented,” Sanders said. “Your sacred duty as a president is to bring the American people together.”
Sanders said America has suffered too much in all forms of discrimination, but he plans on moving forward, instead of backward.
“Tell them you are sick and tired of hearing jokes about Trump, this is no time for jokes,” Sanders said. “This is a time to stand up, fight back and vote.”