Bernie Sanders promotes illusions in the Democrats in speaking tour of Midwest
4 December 2017
Bernie Sanders appeared at rallies in Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania this weekend as part of a three-day “Protecting Working Families” tour sponsored by the Democratic Party-aligned Moveon.org and the Not One Penny Coalition. The tour wrapped up last night with an appearance in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Sanders’ speaking tour passed through Midwestern factory and ex-factory towns, which have been devastated by decades of deindustrialization and cuts to social spending. Dayton, Ohio was formerly a manufacturing center for GM, before the company eliminated virtually all production in the city in the 1980s and 1990s. The city is now one of the centers of the opioid epidemic, which kills tens of thousands of people each year nationwide. Akron, Ohio, the former center of the rubber industry, went through similar plant closures and is now ravaged by a heroin epidemic.
Louisville, Kentucky, where Sanders addressed the audience remotely from Washington, DC, is a major transportation hub with an increasingly restive working class. Autoworkers in the area put up a huge resistance to the 2015 sellout contract pushed by the United Auto Workers, and there have been repeated threats of strikes by UPS mechanics and airplane pilots.
The Democrats suffered major declines in this region during last year’s election, which (with the exception of Kentucky), voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 but voted for Trump in 2016. A major factor behind the support for Trump in this part of the country was the political prostration by Sanders himself before Hillary Clinton in the general election. For all of his talk about leading “political revolution” against the “billionaire…