A sole protestor carried a sign calling for Americans to vote for Donald Trump as he walked along St. Joseph Street in front of the Century Center on Sunday while thousands gathered to rally for Bernie Sanders.
Doug White of South Bend wore an American flag-patterned shirt and a white plastic hat that said “Vote Trump” and “Say no to Hellary,” his nickname for Hillary Clinton.
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The sign, which made no mention of Sanders, drew expected boos from people waiting in line and inspired a friendly debate between White and several Sanders supporters, including Nathan Hasse of South Bend.
“There’s been a lot of bad things (about our government). But we’ve got these Republicans in the Senate and the House that are sitting there saying, ’I’m not going to do anything to help our president because he’s black,’” Hasse said. “Now they don’t say that, but that’s what they mean.”
Here’s what the Trump supporter’s sign says pic.twitter.com/Cg9dH2zHst
— Krystal Vivian (@krystalvivian) May 1, 2016
“One of the biggest reasons I’m for Trump is because if he makes it — and I think he will, I’m sorry, but I think he will — that he will change the face of politics,” White responded. “You and I and everybody will say, ’I don’t have to vote for an incumbent, I don’t have to vote for a politician.’ You could run for office and I will vote for you.”
The argument never got too heated. It lasted about 20 minutes and ended with a friendly handshake.
That debate and a few other mumblings through the crowd of about 4,200 were the only mentions of Trump or the other presidential candidates heard at the Century Center on Sunday night.
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Sanders never once mentioned or referenced any other candidates in his roughly 45-minute speech. Instead, he focused on his vision of America’s future and the world.
He began by noting that May 1 marked the one-year anniversary of when he launched his campaign for president.
He said he wants to create a stronger middle class by ensuring equal pay for women and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour across the country, statements that received deafeningly loud cheers from the crowd.
Sanders called income inequality the biggest issue of our time, especially at a time when people had thousands of dollars in college loans and students from kindergarten to college live in poverty.
He said a lot of the problem came down to companies like Carrier and its parent company United Technologies, which plan to move their operations to Mexico over the next few years. Officials with Carrier said the company needed to move to keep their costs competitive, but Sanders said officials were really just looking to move to a place where they could pay workers as little as $3 per hour.
“That is the corporate greed out there that is destroying the middle class of this country,“ he said.
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He ran through his other stances quickly — allowing people to refinance student loans for lower interest rates, creating a single-payer healthcare system, working to stop climate change and massive immigration reform — before calling on the audience to become catalysts for change by voting in Indiana’s primary on Tuesday, May 3.
”Change never takes place from the top on down,“ he said, pointing to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the push for women’s right to vote in the 1920s. ”It is always from the bottom on up.”
Here’s a pano of the crowd in this room from the press stage. Doesn’t include overflowed crowd. pic.twitter.com/CQYfxRIOFi
— Krystal Vivian (@krystalvivian) May 2, 2016