The Sun Room of the Memorial Union was packed Sunday afternoon when Bernie Sanders came to endorse upcoming Democratic candidates J.D. Scholten and Deidre Dejear.
Scholten is running against Rep. Steve King for District Four of the U.S. House of Representatives, and DeJear is running against Paul Pate for Iowa Secretary of State.
The Vermont senator took the stage to a roaring applause from the audience. He said the Democrats would not be able to elect Scholten and DeJear unless there is the largest Midterm voter turnout in Iowa history.
“This, in fact, the most important midterm election in the history of the United States of America,” Sanders said.
Sanders said the he thinks Iowa voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election because they felt ignored in Washington. He said Donald Trump is a pathological liar and an opportunist “of the worst kind.”
Trump, as a candidate, promised that he would not cut social security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Sanders said this was a lie, and that Republicans are working on cutting all of these programs to deal with the growing deficit. Sanders blames Trump’s tax cuts on the growing deficit.
Sanders said that his campaign, Scholten’s campaign, and DeJear’s campaign are focused on what the people want, and not what wealthy donors want.
Some of the policy goals behind Sanders’ talked about were a living wage currently set as a $15 minimum wage, healthcare as a human right where Medicare can be available for all people in the United States and free tuition at all public colleges.
“This election will determine not only the future of our economy, our healthcare system, climate change, environmental protection, woman’s rights, etc., but it will do something even deeper than that," Sanders said, “This election will determine what kind of nation we are, and, in fact, what our deepest values are.”
All three focused on the importance of the upcoming midterm elections and how people must get out and vote.
“We want to wake up on Nov. 7 and say, ‘We gave it our all,’” DeJear said.
Scholten is in the middle of a 39-county town hall tour, which he calls the “Can’t fake showing up tour." He talked about how he is different from the average member of congress. He explained the average house member is 58 years old and has a one-million-dollar net worth.
“I am 20 years younger,” Scholten said, “and I’m a million dollars short of that average.”
Scholten said that his opponent does not care about higher education tuition hikes or taking healthcare away from Iowans and does not believe in climate change. Scholten said he believes in finding a solution to those issues and he wants to find a way for people to go to college debt free.
Scholten discussed the importance of agriculture in the his district. He said the federal government is lowering corn prices and the trade wars are hurting Iowa farmers. He said fighting for Iowa farmers is important to him.
“We live in the wealthiest country in the world, we need to find solutions,” Scholten said, “and I think Senator Sanders has a solution.”
Krystal Ball, president of the People’s House Project, explained how Scholten “has a spine of steel” and “will get more done in one term than Representative Steve King has done in eight.” She said that her organization backed Scholten because of his deep connections in his district.