Story by Paige Effinger, Staff writer
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and DNC Chairman Tom Perez held a rally in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 18 as a part of the Come Together, Fight back Tour.
The tour covers eight states that are primarily conservative or are swing states to unify the Democratic Party.
Sanders and Perez’s goal is to unite the Democratic Party after party-wide losses last November. Sanders and Perez are visiting voters who may feel ignored by their party because of their conservative state.
“Are you ready to make history?” Sanders said. “That’s what tonight is about.”
Sanders jumped into his speech by sharing his version of democracy.
“I want to talk about a very radical concept,” Sanders said. “It’s called democracy.”
Sanders said the media has made politics more complicated than it has to be. He said democracy is about coming together, discussing the problems and finding a solution to move forward.
Democracy is not about 30-second campaign ads, Sanders said. He said democracy is about having the courage to look our problems in the eye and find a way to resolve them.
Sanders began with many statistics, such as one-tenth of the top one percent wealthiest of Americans holds as much money as the bottom 90 percent of Americans, the 20 wealthiest people have more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of American people and specifically mentioned the Walton family, who own Walmart and have as much wealth as the bottom 42 percent of Americans.
“Why does it happen that in America today we have more wealth and income inequality than any other major country?” Sanders said.
Sanders highlighted many income inequalities in his speech and singled out Republicans such as Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, for talking about cutting social security.
His messages about income inequality and the “incredible greed of corporate America” were met with great ardor from the audience.
“We have got to get involved. We have got to stand together,” Sanders said. “We have got to prevent the demigods from trying to divide us up by our race, our gender or our country of origin.”
Sanders called for a transformation of the Democratic Party and inspired the audience by encouraging them to think big.
Alissa Sommerfeldt, senior public relations major, said she thinks the rallies in the traditionally conservative states will have an effect on the states and that many progressives in red states feel abandoned by the Democratic Party.
“I commend the efforts of Sanders and Perez to try to unify the Democratic Party and show the progressives in those states that they are worthy of attention,” Sommerfeldt said.
Sommerfeldt said she believes the Come Together, Fight Back tour will be successful. She said it took a bizarre presidential election to wake people up, and she said she believes many people are willing to fight back, as the tour name suggests.
Sanders’ campaign resonated with many Americans, Sommerfeldt said, and because of that we are finally starting to see people fighting back through protests and marches.
“I think as long as the American people are willing to fight for their rights, stay actively informed and encourage others to participate in the ongoing conversation, I definitely think the Democratic Party will fight back,” Sommerfeldt said.