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Several people representing the presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, including actor Danny Glover, attended several events around Mississippi’s capital city the day before the state’s Democratic primary in efforts to generate support for the Vermont senator.
Glover, the 73-year-old actor, made several stops in Jackson on Monday, focusing his conversations with voters on Sanders’ plan dubbed “Medicare for All,” a Sanders campaign centerpiece that would extend medical care to all Americans via a government-run health care system.
“We’ve been given the idea that this country doesn’t need universal health care,” Glover told a handful of voters at Piccadilly Cafeteria at Jackson Medical Mall on Monday afternoon. “But disproportionately, African Americans are without health care at all because so many can’t afford it… We have an opportunity with Bernie Sanders to talk about what this could look like for so many Americans.”
Sanders’ health care plan has been met with ire even within the Democratic Party. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who visited Mississippi on Sunday, opposes Sanders’ health care plan, instead wanting to expand medical access by improving upon President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Sanders, who lost by 66 points to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Mississippi Democratic primary, is hoping his surrogates can deliver him success in Tuesday’s primary. The surrogates are here after Sanders cancelled a scheduled Friday visit to the state.
The Vermont senator last visited Mississippi in 2018, when he attended a town hall conversation with Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, who endorsed Sanders last week. And in 2017, Sanders attended a union rally for Nissan plant workers. Glover also attended that rally.
Another Sanders surrogate, civil rights activist Phillip Agnew, joined a panel hosted by the Mississippi Prison Reform Coalition at the Alamo Theatre in Jackson on Sunday.
Agnew told the audience that Sanders’ criminal justice reform platform, coauthored by organizers and formerly incarcerated people, was the most comprehensive and far-reaching among the candidates. The platform includes legalizing marijuana by executive order and vacating and expunging past marijuana convictions; eliminating three-strikes and mandatory minimums laws; and ensuring all prisoners have the right to vote and have living wages and safe working conditions.
“His whole goal, at the core of his criminal justice platform, is that human beings serve no one being behind bars, period,” said Agnew, a 34-year-old Florida activist who founded the civil rights group Dream Defenders after the 2012 shooting of a black teenager named Trayvon Martin.
Many of Sanders’ policies are directly aimed at ending the war on drugs and reversing measures put in place by the 1994 federal crime bill Biden authored, Agnew said. Critics of the 1994 law have said it contributed to the rise of mass incarceration in the 1990s.