United States Senator Bernie Sanders was the main attraction at a Philadelphia get-out-the-vote rally on November 6th, 2022.
Co-sponsored by Move On.org, NextGen America, and the Working Families Party, the Philadephia stop was the last on a five-state tour that began in Nevada on October 28th.
Sanders discussed familiar themes with the enthusiastic near-capacity audience inside the Franklin Music Hall (formerly the Electric Factory). His top priority, however, was stumping for the Democratic ticket in Pennsylvania, especially Senate candidate John Fetterman.
“Tuesday, two days from now, is going to be a very important day in American history,” Sanders said. “And our job together is to make sure that it is a great day, not a disaster. Let’s elect John Fetterman.”
Democrats have been working to garner enthusiasm for this particular mid-term election, which typically generates a lower turnout than Presidential elections. However, there are unusual factors at play in this election. The Supreme Court’s overturning of the fifty-year-old Roe vs. Wade decision, and right-wing extremism impacting the election across the country are on the top of Democrats’ minds as they head to the polls.
“This campaign is not only about women’s rights, and not only about saving the planet, as important as all this is,” Sanders said. “This is something, to be very honest with you, I never imagined in my life that I would be saying as a United States senator; this election is about saving the foundations of American democracy.”
Also in attendance were Councilmembers Helen Gym and Kendra Brooks, who opened the event with remarks similar to Sanders’.
Gym highlighted recent political wins in Philadelphia, referencing the Museum of Art workers’ contract, and Starbucks employees unionizing.
After speaking, Gym said get-out-the-vote rallies show the electorate that “we’re all in this together.”
“Senator Sanders understands the eyes of the nation are on Philadephia,” Gym said. “I think that makes it clear how much everyone should feel seen and valued in our city.”
Gym said one of the best ways to begin to tackle the problems of poverty and violence in Philadelphia was to focus on the upcoming election.
“The problems we’re facing here in Philadelphia, at a local level, are very reflective of what’s happening around the nation,” Gym said. “That’s why we passed a $15 wage for city workers, a Fair Work Week law, expanded benefits, and why we made sure there will be a Department of Labor to go after some of the biggest abusers of labor practices in the city.”
Councilmember Brooks, who was elected as a third-party candidate spoke to the kinship she shares with Senator Sanders, an Independent.
“I support progressive elected officials,” Brooks said. “We have to push against the narrative that all Democrats are the same. Being a Working Families Party elected official is important to align with other elected officials who may not be independent, but have progressive values.”
Rahna Epting, the Executive Director of MoveOn, said the series of rallies have been incredibly successful in helping turnout young voters.
“The intensity of the youth vote on the Democratic side is the highest we’ve seen in any election cycle,” Epting said. “And young people love (Senator) Bernie (Sanders) because he really resonates with them.”
Epting said the rally was about more than the mid-term elections.
“The path to 270 electoral votes for the presidential race in 2024 runs through Pennsylvania, so the fact that you have Doug Mastriano running for governor, who is a proclaimed election denier and who harbors conspiracy theories…appointing the Secretary of State (who holds significant power in Pennsylvania elections.”
Our reporters sit through hours of city council meetings, dig through piles of documents, and ask tough questions other media overlook. Because we’re committed to addressing Philadelphia’s poverty crisis — and challenging those who sustain it. If you think this work is important too, please support our journalism.
We’re counting on readers like you.