By Dannys Marrero
Pittsburgh Current Contributing Writer
On Saturday afternoon, Bernie Sanders rallied Democrats in Rankin to secure support for Joe Biden in Pennsylvania.
With nine days before the polls open on election day, the Vermont Senator and former Democratic Presidential candidate was joined by Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, along with Pennsylvania Reps Summer Lee and Sara Innamorato at the Rivers of Steel: Carrie Blast Furnaces.
“We cannot win democracy in our workplace if we lose it in our civil life,” said Innamorato during her remarks in support of Biden.
Throughout the 2020 campaign cycle, the Biden campaign has not conducted rallies that are open to the public with the objective of mitigating the dangers of COVID-19. So, this drive-in rally was the first major Democratic campaign rally in the city with more than 120 cars in the premises. This campaign stop also comes a day after Mike Pence visited West Mifflin..
Sara Goodkind, a college professor, attended the rally because she still is not certain that Biden will win Pennsylvania.
“[The state] is a battleground this election because it was such a battleground in the last election too,” said Goodkind. “Last election, Hillary was expected to win Pennsylvania, but then she lost. So, Pennsylvania is a very much a swing-state that could still go either way.”
At this point in the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton was beating Donald Trump in all major polls. This year, history seems to be repeating itself as Joe Biden is ahead of Donald Trump in all major polls since the conclusion of the last presidential debate on Oct. 22. However, the only common ground these two campaigns have found is that neither of them trusts the polls; and even though Democrats are winning they are using this as an opportunity to reach more voters in hopes to tip the scales in this key state for the presidency.
“Last time, I know people who voted for Trump as a joke, they really thought he didn’t have a chance at winning,” said Goodkind. “Things are different this election, because we really know what is at stake. We need to work hard and get out to vote for Biden.”
All of the event’s speakers expressed disdain for the current administration, voiced support for the union strikes occurring around the city, the raising of the minimum wage, Medicare-for-all, closing the gender gap, and other progressive ideas of the Biden agenda. The speakers repeatedly mentioned however, that Joe Biden was not the solution to all the country’s problems but rather the best steppingstone to achieve them.
“No union member should be voting for Donald Trump. Period.” said Brian P. after delivering remarks about the struggles unions are facing around the country.
Sanders took the stage at 4 p.m. and all supporters proceeded to get out of their cars and gather around the podium to hear the former democratic candidate.
“For all of those that have put lives on the line to defend American democracy, I say, that we cannot sustain another four years of Donald Trump” said Sanders “We have got to come together, Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Native American, Asian Americans, gay and straight, those of us born in America, those of us who immigrated to America, we have got to come together as one people to show our strength and evict Donald trump from the White House.”
The multi-racial crowd also had representatives from many local union workers like Jean Neiderberger & Kathy Tarka, Giant Eagle workers and members of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW).
“We can’t have people voting for [Trump] this election. He now has a track record, he’s not electable” said Neiderberger.
Sanders told the crowd about how COVID-19 has affected the middle class as millions have lost their jobs, and health insurance, along with food insecurity and the millions of evictions Americans are now facing.
12.6 million households are still unemployed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. One in 9 Americans face food insecurity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, 40 million people in more than 17 million households may be at risk of eviction through the end of the year.
Sanders then scolded the President on his Coronavirus response and his statement about “rounding the corner of this pandemic”.
“We cannot continue to have a president who rejects science. Not now,” said Sanders “Not as we face the worst pandemic in 100 years, which has already taken the lives of some two hundred and twenty thousand.
According to the Center for Disease Control, over 228,000 deaths have occurred in the U.S. Pennsylvania has seen an increase of 1,700 confirmed cases in just the past few days, and in Allegheny County, 421 deaths have been reported.
“America cannot be the model for the world if we have a president who is a pathological liar” said Sanders.