The third stop of the nationwide “Come Together, Fight Back” campaign by the Democratic Party came on Wednesday as DNC Chair Tom Perez and Sen. Bernie Sanders landed in Miami for a rally at the James L. Knight Center. The titans of liberal politics came to the Magic City to work on unifying the Democratic Party from the disparate Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters to oppose President Trump and the Republican Party’s agenda. The rally was attended mostly by staunch supporters of Sanders, some of whom wore buttons, hats and shirts promoting a “Bernie 2020” presidential campaign.
After hearing opening remarks from Florida Democratic Party Chair Steve Bittel and Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair Juan Cuba, Chairman Perez took the stage to a somewhat enthusiastic crowd. Perez’s main points were Republican failures and dishonesty to the American people, and the need for Democrats to unite. Perez highlighted the shared values and goals of Democrats and a need to work together, regardless of who they supported in 2016. Perez also called for State Sen. Frank Artiles to resign due to racist remarks he made, which he did on Friday. However, Perez was briefly heckled several times by people who were strident supporters of Sanders and wished for the DNC to listen to him more.
When Sanders came to the stage though, it felt less like a unity rally and more like a rock concert as cheers reverberated across the walls. Sanders’ message was not primarily one of unity, but one of promoting the ideas behind his previous campaign, such as fighting income inequality, promoting universal healthcare and breaking up big banks. The crowd was extremely enthusiastic for Sanders and capped off every point he had with applause and cheer. He did not respond to calls for him to run in 2020 for president from some members of the audience, however he did provide his input on issues such as fracking.
When Sanders and Perez concluded their speeches Sanders walked around the room shaking hands and taking pictures with supporters as the audience filed out. Overall the rally had a good attendance and showed support for uniting to fight the Republican agenda and the agenda of Gov. Scott in Tallahassee, Fla. As the next stops of the unity tour near, the tour’s effects are certainly being felt within Democratic circles in Miami.