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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-VT) shakes hands with United Steelworkers President, Local 1999, Chuck Jones, after having breakfast at Peppy Grill on May 3, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

'He's Not Slowing Down': Sanders to Rip Trump, Push for Single Payer on Midwest Tour

The tour will aim to demonstrate that Sanders' ambitious progressive agenda—which includes a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, and tuition-free public college—has "universal appeal."

Jake Johnson, staff writer

As new polling data shows President Donald Trump's support flagging in several electorally crucial Midwest states, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is gearing up for his three-state Midwest "Pickup Tour," which will aim to demonstrate that his ambitious progressive agenda—which includes a $15 federal minimum wage, Medicare for All, and tuition-free public college—has "universal appeal."

The tour is scheduled to begin on Monday in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Sanders will join former United Steelworkers Local 1999 President Chuck Jones at a rally focused primarily on jobs and income inequality.

"What we want to do is hold some of the politicians accountable for some of the campaign promises made and bring attention to the fact that something needs to change." 
—Chuck Jones

"Elected officials and local activists will draw attention to the fact that Trump has failed to deliver on his promises to put workers first and stop the offshoring of American jobs," Indiana Talks noted in its summary of the tour's objectives.

Jones made headlines in December when he accused Trump of lying to Carrier workers about the number of jobs the company planned to keep in the country. Trump attacked Jones on Twitter, and Jones hit back with an op-ed in the Washington Post, accusing Trump of selling workers "a false hope."

On Monday, Jones plans to deliver a similar message.

"What we want to do is hold some of the politicians accountable for some of the campaign promises made and bring attention to the fact that something needs to change," Jones told USA Today. "No matter if it's to Mexico or to China or to wherever, we are losing good-paying jobs, and some of these companies responsible are being rewarded with government contracts."

Speaking to the Washington Post, Sanders echoed Jones, saying: "We've got a chance to be heard, and we've got to use that chance to explain what a progressive economic agenda is all about."

"We want a $15 minimum wage," Sanders concluded. "Donald Trump has said wages should be lower. And that's our point."

Sanders will then travel to Portsmouth, Ohio on Tuesday, where he will speak about healthcare and the economy before making a final stop in Detroit, Michigan for a town hall-style event with Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), where the two congressmen will discuss single-payer healthcare.

Conyers has introduced a Medicare for All bill every year since 2003. But this year is different, he has said.

"I have never seen more enthusiasm and energy behind this issue than what I'm seeing today," Conyers observed.

"We want a $15 minimum wage. Donald Trump has said wages should be lower. And that's our point." 
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

Much of the recent enthusiasm for single payer emerged during the struggle against the Republican Party's attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Over the last several months, polls have shown support for single payer surging, and Sanders is looking to capitalize on this moment, particularly in areas Trump won in November.

"Now is the time for us to summon the courage to create a healthcare system which benefits all Americans, and not just those who make billions off of the current wasteful, bureaucratic, and dysfunctional system," Sanders wrote in a recent op-ed for The Guardian

Sanders is reportedly planning to introduce Medicare for All legislation when Congress returns from recess in September.


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