EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – At a rally ahead of next week’s Wisconsin presidential primary, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday told more than 3,400 supporters here he would reform the nation’s rigged economy, corrupt campaign finance system and broken criminal justice system. Counting overflow, the total crowd count was 4,300.
“If there is a large voter turnout we will win on Tuesday,” Sanders said. “Let us have the largest voter turnout in Wisconsin primary history,” he added to roaring cheers from the record-breaking capacity crowd.
The stop here was part of a five-day campaign march across Wisconsin before Tuesday’s Democratic Party primary contest with Hillary Clinton. “Let the world know that Wisconsin is prepared to go forward with a political revolution,” Sanders said.
During the hour-long speech, Sanders contrasted his and Clinton’s stands on fracking, campaign finance reform, trade agreements and health care. Sanders is the candidate with the most consistent track record of taking on special interests and fighting for the middle class and working families. “Together we are going to create an economy that works for all of us, not just the top 1 percent,” he said at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena.
Sanders also is the candidate with the best chance to defeat Donald Trump and other Republican White House hopefuls. Polls in Wisconsin and nationwide consistently have shown Sanders defeating Trump by margins much greater than Clinton. “Not only will we defeat Donald Trump, we will defeat him by a large margin,” Sanders said. “The American people will not elect a president of the United States who insults Mexicans and Latinos, who insults Muslims, who insults women and veterans, who insults the African-American community.”
Wisconsin historically has been a watershed event in the Democratic Party’s primary schedule. Since 1960, with only one exception, the winner here has become the party’s standard bearer.
Some pundits have pointed to the state’s progressive tradition to explain why Clinton has slipped behind Sanders in recent polls. In fact, however, Wisconsin Democrats frequently have favored establishment candidates. Bill Clinton, John Kerry and Jimmy Carter, for example, all won Wisconsin primaries in contests with more progressive rivals.