BANGOR, Maine — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders acknowledged Friday that many voters don’t like Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — or her Republican rival — and urged voters to look at the programs and agendas of the candidates instead of focusing on personalities.
He said middle class voters who study the issues will conclude Clinton supports their interests better than Republican Donald Trump, whom he accused of running a divisive campaign instead of seeking to unite the nation.
Sanders also blamed the media for shifting their focus away from issues that matter most.
“Every day, TV makes this into the Super Bowl or the World Series, what the polls are or who said something dumb yesterday. That’s not what an election in a Democratic society should be like,” he said.
Sanders, who won Maine’s presidential caucuses, drew a crowd of several hundred people to the Cross Insurance Center as he rallied support for his one-time Democratic rival in the rural 2nd Congressional District, where Trump has seen strength.
Because Maine splits its electoral votes, Trump could take one of Maine’s four electoral votes if he wins the district but loses the statewide vote.
Trump will rally supporters at the same venue on Oct. 15.
Sanders, who endorsed Clinton in July, addressed topics including raising the minimum wage, reducing income inequality and making public college tuition-free.
He also took aim at Trump’s temperament, support of wealthy interests and environmental policies. He mocked Trump’s idea for a wall on the Mexican border and said a blanket prohibition on Muslim immigrants would violate the U.S. Constitution.
He saved some of his sharpest criticism for Trump’s treatment of others and the way he says Trump’s campaign has deepened racial and economic divisions.
“As Americans we all have different points of view, but when you run for president of the United States there’s got to be at least a minimum threshold of decency,” Sanders said. “We have struggled too much for too many years trying to overcome racism and discrimination to go backwards to those days.”