Politics & Government

Sanders stays at Winthrop, courts women voters (+VIDEO)

Bernie Sanders addresses the National Federation of Democratic Women Southeastern Regional Meeting hosted by the South Carolina Democratic Women's Council in Whitton Auditorium at Winthrop University.
Bernie Sanders addresses the National Federation of Democratic Women Southeastern Regional Meeting hosted by the South Carolina Democratic Women's Council in Whitton Auditorium at Winthrop University. Special to The Herald

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, with his arms waving and a series of sharp one-liners he hopes will raise his sagging poll numbers, told Democratic women Saturday thatRepublicans are trying to marginalize women and keep them from economic and social equality.

“The right wing in this country is in a war against women,” Sanders said Saturday at Winthrop University, just hours after the MSNBC nationally televised forum where he, Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley were in the national spotlight.

The Vermont senator took a shot at Republican candidate Ben Carson, saying in a quip that brought cheers from the audience, “I don’t know what world he’s living in.” Sanders did not give any specific examples about Carson.

Sanders did say that the election, and then reelection of Barack Obama and Carson’s candidacy shows, “people in our country are going beyond the color of skin, we should be proud,” Sanders said.

The votes of women and blacks are crucial in South Carolina’s First in the South February primary, where Sanders trails front-runner Hillary Clinton . In a Winthrop poll released Wednesday, Clinton leads at 71 percent of potential voters to 15 percent for Sanders.

Sanders has repeatedly refused to attack Clinton, despite what he says is the media begging him to do so. Garnering support for his campaign, and Democrats, is the only way to galvanize support and elect a Democrat, Sanders said.

Sanders’ platform of free public college, a higher minimum wage and mandatory vacations and family leave for new mothers sometimes clash with other Democrats and is usually ridiculed by conservatives and Republicans as free-spending folly that is nothing more than redistributing wealth.

Sanders said that the economy now is sending almost all the wealth to the richest in America, with the middle class left struggling without competitive wages.

“It’s not a radical idea to bring some of the wealth back to the middle class,” Sanders said.

Of pre-kindergarten child care for all, Sanders said it is a better investment than prisons.

“What about investing in our children rather than jails?” Sanders asked Saturday.

The speech was attend by about 300 delegates from a dozen Southern states who came to Rock Hill and Winthrop for the women's conference that piggy-backed on Friday night’s forum broadcast live on MSNBC. The crowd Saturday seemed to be split between Sanders and Clinton supporters. Clinton did not speak at Winthrop Saturday.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065

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