This morning, Bernie Sanders was at UAW Local 600 in Dearborn campaigning on behalf of Hillary Clinton. The first face many attendees saw outside, however, was Donald Trump’s. The catch? It was made of papier-mâché. Tom Moran, 61, of Fenton, MI eventually brought his ‘Giant Trump Head’—and its magnetic aura of anti-Trump sentiment—into the building, where a chorus of UAW members packed an auditorium to hear the U.S. Senator from Vermont preach.
In her introductory remarks, UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada told the crowd: “How do we honor Bernie Sanders? It’s not by voting for Jill Stein or any other third-party candidate. It’s by standing with him and making sure that we’re all with [Clinton].” With near-religious fervor, Estrada went further, imploring her audience “to make sure that every Democratic candidate out there—I don’t care who they are—that they uphold our progressive agenda.” The crowd exploded with applause as the crescendo of her speech peaked with a scathing remark about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the multinational trade agreement that neither presidential candidate currently supports.
Then, in a speech lasting around 30 minutes, Sanders flitted through a litany of expository statements, many of them prefixed by the words “Hillary Clinton understands” and suffixed by rejoinders to Trumpian politics. The 75-year-old Brooklyn native’s trademark anti-establishment rhetoric pervaded his address, as the hall’s congregants offered enthusiastic amens to each of his exhortations. “We organize. We educate. We stand together.” Those words initiated the oratory coda of the event for a crowd of citizens living through the most politically polarized period in a generation.
When asked how she decided who was getting her vote, Montina Tillman of UAW Local 3000 said: “It wasn’t hard. You have to understand, Trump is not for the working class.” Yet, with recent polls showing 7-11% of voters still undecided nationally, it appears the choice remains difficult for some. The black-and-white nature of two-party elections doesn’t make room for gray. Instead, each individual is forced to attach him- or herself to dogma, choosing which denomination of the American church to follow while routinely attending events that reaffirm their beliefs.