U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was in Davenport last week at a rally at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. Over 700 hundred people gathered to hear him speak in his latest visit to Davenport, IA.
His campaign communications director came through in giving Hola Iowa an exclusive interview with the senator from Vermont.
We arrived over an hour earlier to make sure we are set for the interview and there were plenty of people already waiting to see Sanders. Everything seemed to be well organized and the people seem very excited to be there.
He arrived shortly. He seemed tired but determined. He asked his people were the bathroom was located and for a cup of coffee. He was very accommodating even though I’m sure it had been a very demanding day of campaigning across Eastern Iowa finishing with this his last event of the day.
We started our interview by asking him about his proposal for immigration reform.
Senator Sanders please tell us some of the main points of your “Families First” immigration reform plan
The main point is that we have 11 million undocumented people in this country. Many of them are living in fear, living in the shadows. We got to, as soon as possible, move to the comprehensive immigration reform and a path towards citizenship. That’s what I will fight for as president to the degree that if Congress does not cooperate we will use the executive powers of the President to achieve the best goals that we can. Bottom line is as a nation we should be uniting families and not dividing families. I talked to too many Latino families, too many young people who are very scared about seeing their parents deported their families to be separated. And that is something I would do everything that I can to prevent.
What are some of the Latino organizations that you and your campaign have reached out to in Iowa?
Well, I do not know the names of them, but we have reached out all over the country to the Latino organizations. I think what is fair to say is that when I began this campaign we were not particularly well known either in the Latino community or frankly the African American community. We have made a major effort and we have acquired some wonderful Latino young people who are helping us on our campaign. Helping us to develop policy and reach across all country.
You have mentioned during your campaign that you are only one person and if you get elected it will take more to make significant changes.
How do you plan to work with a divided congress to get things done?
Well, that is exactly what I have said and I’ll say tonight. It is the truth and I think no other candidate will tell you that. And that is if you look at the power of Wall Street, corporate America, corporate media of the large campaign donors they are the people who control what goes on in America. Now a President can stand up and fight them, but he can’t do it along. Millions of people need to stand together to demand the Congress represent all of us rather than a few. We need to bring people into the process so the Congress understands that they have to listen, they have to respond to needs of working people. If voter turn out is low, if people are disinterested, if people give up on political process frankly it will be hard to bring about the changes I want to see. If people are deeply involved and the political conscience goes up then we can bring the profound changes to this country.
The next question is long so please bear with me Senator.
The mainstream media hardly covers your campaign.
The scheduling of the Debates seems deliberately designed to minimize the national audience.
CNN declared Hillary Clinton the winner of the recent debates soon after the debates aired even though their own social media polls had you winning by a landslide.
The DNC vendor that handles the voter’s data access makes a huge error then Debbie
Wasserman Schultz punishes your campaign by suspending your access to this data.
Something you have since resolved.
My question is:
Do you feel this series of events a coincidence or maybe purposely designed to minimize your impact on the caucus and primaries?
Look, you know it is no secret to anybody that I am not the establishment candidate. I’ll let you guess who the establishment candidate is and it’s not me. And I think what happens is that the establishment within the DNC is trying to protect their preferred candidate. But having said that… It is not something I want to be arguing about for the rest of my life. You are right I think the dates when the debates were scheduled seemed to be almost designed to get a low viewing audience rather than a high viewing audience, but at the end of the day we have progressed enormously in the last eight months when we started. We were considered almost a fringe candidate, way down on the polls. Right now I think we are closing the gap here in Iowa, I think we got a real shot to win in Iowa and we are probably ahead a little in New Hampshire, just came back from Nevada and we are running very strong there. So I think we got a great a shot, a great chance to win the first few states and that’s a path towards victory.