Why democratic candidates say they can win in Wisconsin and resurrect the ‘Blue Wall’ in 2020

NOW: Why democratic candidates say they can win in Wisconsin and resurrect the ‘Blue Wall’ in 2020


MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) – Several presidential candidates seeking to become the Democratic Party’s nominee in 2020 to challenge President Donald Trump visited Milwaukee this past week to take part in the National Convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC. CBS 58 asked the same question to candidates that made themselves available to the media at the conventio

The question was: The road to the White House goes through the Midwest. Donald Trump was able to tear down the so-called ‘Blue Wall’ in the 2016 presidential contest, winning Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – states that were once reliably blue. Why do candidates believe that their candidacy, message and platform are the right ones to defeat the President Trump in 2020?

Here are their answers to that question (candidates are in alphabetical order by their last name).

Julián Castro, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Mayor of San Antonio

Look, I’m focused on the things that all Americans care about. I’m making sure that their kids can get a good education, that they can have good health care, that they can have good job opportunities, whether they live in big cities or they live in a small town. There are a lot of people here in Wisconsin that know that we can do better in America. And I feel very blessed that I’ve been able to reach my dreams in this country and I want to make sure that no matter who you are, that you can reach your dreams too. And so my plans for education, for housing, for a number of other things will speak to the people that live here in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states. I also believe that I can get a lot of new voters here in Wisconsin and these other Midwestern states and that I’m the party’s best chance to go and get the eleven electoral votes of Arizona, the 29 electoral votes in Florida and the 38 electoral votes in my home state of Texas.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, (D) Hawaii 2nd District

The message that I bring is really one of putting service above self, this principle that’s at the heart of every service member and every veteran. And when you listen to folks who felt so disenfranchised and so left behind, a lot of folks who voted for democrats for many years and then decided to vote for Donald Trump, it’s really indicative of what’s at the heart of the problem in Washington, which is leaders who’ve left people behind, who’ve been influenced by the rich and powerful, thinking about their interest, passing trade deals that help serve multinational corporations but really end up screwing the American worker, the American farmer. So putting this focus on service above self is exactly how we best meet the needs and address these challenges that people both across the Midwest and across the country are facing.

Beto O’Rourke, Former Texas 16th Congressional District Representative

This is my third visit to Wisconsin. I’m here because I want to celebrate with LULAC, their achievements in civil rights and so many other aspects of American life that their participation and activism is making better. But I’m also here because I want the people of this state to know that they count and they count with me. I learned in Texas, going to every one of the 254 counties, no matter how red or how blue, when you count everyone in and you don’t write anybody off you can change the very fabric of our democracy so that more people can get involved. We went from 50th in voter turnout, dead last in the country to a state that really counts, whose 38 electoral college votes are in play for the first time since maybe 1976. So doing that here, doing that in a red state like Texas and doing that on a boldly progressive agenda that ensures that we have the courage of our convictions but we bring everyone in to our solution, I think that’s the way you defeat Donald Trump. I think that’s the way you bring this very divided country together around the greatest set of challenges we’ve ever faced.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, (D) Vermont

According to recent polling, we are actually winning in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. And I think we can win those states. And I think that the reason is, that the issues that we are fighting for are the issues that the working class of this country are concerned about. Workers understand that there is something terribly wrong when we have millions of people earning 11, 12 bucks an hour or less, that we have to raise that minimum wage to a living wage, 15 bucks an hour – that’s an effort that I have helped lead. Workers understand that all over the industrialized world health care is a human right and we should not have 80 million Americans uninsured or underinsured. Workers understand that everything being equal unless we turn around, their kids are going to have a lower standard of living than they do. So I think the issues that we are talking about are saying that we need a government and an economy that works for all of us, not just billionaires and wealthy campaign contributors. That’s the issue that I believe is going to win us this election.

Marianne Williamson, Author & Activist

The American worker has been betrayed. The American worker has every reason to be upset. Our government was established to secure the rights of each of us to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have had a corporatist agenda, trickle-down economics that has been perpetrating a terrible economic injustice against the American worker and millions and millions of American people for 40 years now where we have transferred huge amounts of our national wealth into the hands of a very, very few people. And of course, the theory was that if you just serve the fiduciary responsibility of the corporate stockholder and don’t have to worry about any ethical or moral responsibility to the worker or any other stakeholders such as the environment, that somehow this was going to be good because all of the money was going to trickle down, was going to lift all boats. After 40 years, the jury is in. Not only has it not lifted all boats, it has left millions of people without even a life vest. The American people get this. Whether they intellectually understand exactly how this happened or not, they do know that they have been screwed. The situation is rigged against them. So I’m not a candidate who’s pretending that that did not happen. I believe that the American people should expect and receive from their leaders radical truth telling. And that is radical truth. And I’m having a deep and a real conversation with people. And I’m saying that that kind of capitalism needs to be held accountable. That’s what we have done traditionally. A capitalism unmoored, untethered to ethical and moral and even democratic consideration is a virulent strain. This is why we have pushed back in the past. This is why we have child labor laws, this is why we have labor unions to begin with. It’s time for an uprising of the American people. In our Declaration of Independence it says that it is the right of the people to alter their government when their government is not securing the safety and the prosperity and the happiness of people. And so our current economic system is not just. Our current economic system is very corrupt and it has corrupted our government. And our government does more with its public policy to advocate for short term profits for huge multinational corporate conglomerates than it does to advocate for the people. And those are the people that you are saying are so upset. My point is, you have every right to be upset and just a little bit of change here is not going to fix it, a little incremental change is not going to fix it. What is going to fix it is to realize it is specific policies that got us here, it is specific policies that will get us out of this mess. Now, I challenge the idea that only those who have been part of the machine that drove us into the ditch are qualified to get us out of it. We need a massive infusion of economic hope and opportunity into the sinews of American civilization. Immediate universal health care, minimum wage at 15 dollars, remove this college loan burden and make state colleges and universities free. The average American, including in these states, there are so many millions of Americans living with constant, daily economic tension and anxiety; not knowing what will happen if they get sick or if their children get sick or how they’re going to send their kids to college. They have a right to feel that they have been treated unfairly and in me they have a candidate, and will have a president, someone who gets that that is happening, names that it is happening and am not just someone who wants to ameliorate their suffering, I want to challenge all the underlying forces that make all that suffering inevitable.

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