Bernie Sanders plans Orlando stop to boost Maxwell Frost, energize progressive voters
Image via AP.

Bernie Sanders AP
‘The energy level for young people, working-class people (isn’t high enough). I want to see what I can do about that.’

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will visit Orlando near the end of the month to support Democratic congressional candidate Maxwell Frost and energize young and progressive Florida voters ahead of the General Election.

The stop in Orlando is one of at least 19 planned events the Independent Senator from Vermont is planning over the final two weekends before Election Day. The first begins in Eugene, Oregon, on Oct. 27, with others following in California, Nevada, Texas and Florida the first weekend and in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania the second weekend.

Sanders will visit Orlando on Oct. 30, according to The Hill. The event will take place after a stop in McAllen, where the 81-year-old is planning to support Michelle Vallejo, the Democratic candidate for Texas’ 15th Congressional District.

Participating organizations along the tour include NextGen and MoveOn.

“It’s about energizing our base and increasing voter turnout up and down the ballot,” Sanders told the New York Times, which first reported on the planned tour. “I am a little bit concerned that the energy level for young people, working-class people (isn’t high enough). I want to see what I can do about that.”

The Times said Sanders plans to hold events with a blend of House candidates, a mayoral contender and liberal organizations across the eight targeted states. That includes Frost, a former ACLU staffer and March For Our Lives activist now running to succeed U.S. Rep. Val Demings in Congressional District 10. In late August, the 25-year-old stunned establishment politicos by soundly defeating several Democratic Primary opponents, including two former members of Congress, to clinch the party nomination.

Other high-profile Democratic candidates in need of a boost that Sanders could stump for include Demings, who is running to unseat U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Miami state Sen. Annette Taddeo, who is challenging U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar in Congressional District 27, and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.

Sanders’ presidential campaigns in 2016 and 2020 helped to realign the Democratic Party’s politics and policies toward more liberal ideals. The self-professed Democratic socialist remains an influential figure nationwide, particularly among ultraprogressive Democrats like U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York and Orlando state Rep. Anna Eskamani.

Among Republicans, he is a veritable boogeyman whose image conservative operatives often use to harden the party’s base against considering casting ballots for Democratic candidates.

Such was the case with a new TV and digital ad released last week painting Taddeo as a hyper-leftist who was “spotted huddling with the Miami chapter of a socialist group that supports the Cuban communist regime.”

“Annette Taddeo supports Bernie’s Plan,” said the ad, which House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Conservative Leadership Fund financed.

The “huddling” to which the ad referred was an April 2018 panel discussion the Miami chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America hosted on expanding state and federal health care access that Taddeo participated in alongside several other Democrats.

Taddeo has repeatedly backed bills in the Florida Senate that would help close the state’s “coverage gap” by increasing Medicaid support, a move Sanders backs too. But she was also among several Florida Democrats who criticized Sanders for his soft rhetoric on Fidel Castro.

Taddeo’s campaign manager, Nick Merlino, told Florida Politics she will not be campaigning with Sanders.

Asked by the Times whether he was worried his campaigning in swing states could backfire, Sanders said the GOP is already using him to attack Democrats.

“They’ve already done it,” he said. “They’re going to have to respond to why they don’t want to raise the minimum wage, why they want to give tax breaks to billionaires, why they want to cut Social Security. Those are the questions that I think these guys do not want to answer. And those are the questions I’m going to be raising.”

Sanders said Democrats are “doing rather poorly” in appealing to working-class voters. He plans to address that issue while on tour.

“It is rather amazing to me that we are in a situation right now, which I hope to change, where according to poll after poll, the American people look more favorably upon the Republicans in terms of economic issues than they do Democrats,” he said. “That is absurd.”

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Editor’s note: This story was updated to include a comment from Merlino.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


5 comments

  • Tom

    October 19, 2022 at 3:18 pm

    Bernie Sanders is the man. He’s for the people. Republicans are for the rich people. If you aren’t rich and you vote Republican then you are one of the dumbest people to ever walk this earth.

    • Lucy Warner

      October 21, 2022 at 11:39 am

      Growing up in the white working class South I’ve seen these people all my life. In 1962 more of them were Democrats. In 1963 they miraculously went over to the Republicans, who at that time were already racist and classist. There is also the “states rights” issue which is a layover from the Civil War. Southern and rural pride and belief in conservative religion, coupled with a built-in racism is overcoming a rational understanding of their actual ability to succeed financially as a “strong” individual through “hard work.” No matter how hard they work, most of them won’t get very far up the ladder without UNIONS and government aid. It hurts their pride to acknowledge that. Plus, caring about minorities seems like going against their “group,” which is very difficult on the local level in a community where people know you very well and societal pressure can be very strong. It is not that they are exactly unintelligent, but they are undereducated in most cases and brainwashed to believe the ultra-capitalism that they have been taught their whole lives. It is sad, but predictable. My solution is to learn as much as I can every day, follow the precepts of Sanders and liberal politics in general and speak out whenever I get a chance, like now.

  • Impeach Biden

    October 20, 2022 at 8:21 am

    Go to UCF or any other college in Florida. That’s where your message will work for all those kids looking for freebies like college tuition. The workers that reside in Florida aren’t interested in your socialist ideas. Bernie, you will be swept away like many others as the Red Tsunami approaches.

    • Joe Corsin

      October 20, 2022 at 9:29 am

      College and healthcare will be universal one day. Only a matter of time. It will be a better world after you people are dead. This is the reality that every conservative hates. The future will be better but they won’t be here… therefore they have to ensure that it’s not better.

    • Rebutting Morons

      October 20, 2022 at 10:53 am

      I’m literally a Florida worker who is literally interested in his socialist ideas, so…..

Comments are closed.


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