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"We need jobs, justice, and peace. We need political justice and economic justice," said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). (Photo: Robin Buckson/The Detroit News)

As Trump Raged in Phoenix, Sanders and Conyers Offered Vision for a Better Nation

"If you spent two minutes watching Trump, spend two watching this."

Jake Johnson

While much of the nation looked on in horror as President Donald Trump delivered a speech ripped "out of a psychopathology textbook" on Tuesday night in Arizona, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) headlined a town hall-style event in Detroit, Michigan on racial and economic justice that served as a marked contrast to Trump's "unhinged" performance.

"I want Democrats to be the party not of corporate interests, but of the working class."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
Before Sanders approached the podium, Rev. Wendell Anthony of the Detroit Fellowship Chapel Church delivered a remarkable introduction that was quickly spread on social media.

Sanders is "trying to take down the tributes to racism and division" while also "trying to stand up for universal healthcare, stand up for jobs for everybody, stand up for income equality, stand up for tuition-free education, stand up for fair treatment and respect from law enforcement across the nation," Anthony said.

"If you spent two minutes watching Trump tonight, spend two watching this," a pro-Sanders group wrote on Twitter, referring to Anthony's speech.


Speaking to an audience of more than 2,000 people, Conyers and Sanders slammed Trump while also outlining a positive vision, one that included Medicare for All, a higher federal minimum wage, and full employment.

Pointing to Trump's insistence that "many sides" were to blame for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Sanders said: "We have a president who was equivocal—nice people on both sides! No! There are no nice Nazis!"


Sanders—who, according to a new poll, would handily defeat Trump in a hypothetical 2020 match-up—went on to express the urgent need to fundamentally alter America's for-profit healthcare status quo.

"If every other major country guarantees healthcare to every man, woman, and child in their nations, by God we can do it in the United States," Sanders said.

Conyers added to Sanders's Medicare for All pitch a call for full employment. A decent-paying job, Conyers said, should be a "fundamental" right in the wealthiest nation on earth.

"We need jobs, justice, and peace," Conyers said. "We need political justice and economic justice."

"We need jobs, justice, and peace. We need political justice and economic justice."
—Rep. John Conyers
Conyers and Sanders have both introduced ambitious legislation taking aim at America's healthcare crisis and, more recently, youth unemployment.

"Youth unemployment is one of the great crises facing our country, impacting millions of young people and their families, but it is one we rarely discuss in Washington," Sanders wrote shortly after introducing the Employ Young Americans Now Act. Conyers introduced the same bill in the House of Representatives.

Sanders ended the Detroit town hall by acknowledging that while "there are divisions in this country on a number of issues," most Americans are united in their desire for a government that works for the public good, not for the interests of the wealthy.

"I want Democrats to be the party not of corporate interests, but of the working class," Sanders said. "On major issue after major issue, the American people are united in wanting a government that represents all of us and not the one percent."

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