Democratic presidential hopeful and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders brought his campaign to the Coachella Valley today, beginning a series of California speaking engagements planned in the coming days.
Sanders' spoke before a boisterous rally at the Rancho Mirage Amphitheater, after Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett performed. He began by assailing recent decisions by state officials in Wisconsin and Georgia to throw hundreds of thousands of voters off the rolls.
"I gotta say to those Republican governors and officials who are too cowardly to debate the real issues facing this country, too cowardly to engage in a free, fair and open debate, (who) think that the only way they can win an election is by denying people the right to vote, I say to those cowards: "Get out of politics and get another job!"
"It's hard for me to say this, but our democracy will restore democracy to the United States of America,'' Sanders said.
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Sanders is also scheduled to take part in the sixth Democratic candidate debate Thursday at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, but he indicated he may skip the event due to a union labor dispute. The other major Democratic candidates have also threatened to skip the debate if the labor issue isn't settled, saying they would not cross picket lines.
The 2020 California presidential primary election is scheduled for March 3.
Sanders' campaign also opened a new field office in Coachella at 722 Vine Ave., the senator's 10th office in California. It is housed in the same building occupied by Cesar Chavez and Larry Itliong, the legendary labor leaders and community organizers who helped found the United Farm Workers union in the early 1960s.
The senator also has also scheduled appearances in both Moreno Valley and San Diego for Friday.
"Californians understand that only Senator Sanders has the vision to
make housing affordable, create tuition-free public colleges and fight for the
good-paying, union jobs that all Americans deserve,'' said Rafael Navar,
California state director for Bernie 2020. "We have mobilized the biggest
grassroots movement in the Golden State, and we intend to win.''
But Samantha Zager, regional communications director for Trump Victory, the joint effort between the Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump's re-election campaign, called Sanders' economic plans too restrictive for business.
"From skyrocketing taxes to government overregulation, Californians
have seen firsthand what they would be getting into with a Bernie Sanders
presidency,'' Zager said. "The socialist policies proposed by Sanders are a catalyst for diminished quality of life and an economic environment that does nothing to support small businesses and families. Families in the Golden State know they're better off under President Trump's leadership.''
In Moreno Valley, Sanders will speak at 1 p.m. Friday at Marinaj Banquets & Events, 22605 Alessandro Blvd. Doors open at noon and an RSVP is also encouraged. Later that day, Sanders will head to San Ysidro High School at 5353 Airway Road in San Diego, where he is scheduled to speak at 6 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and advance online registration is also encouraged.