The Bernie Sanders campaign has not only shied away from negative ads, but they have produced extended ads like the one featuring Eric Garner’s daughter, Erica, where she talked in depth about the impact of her father’s death at the hand of police officers in Staten Island in 2014, and the infamous video where his last words were “I can’t breathe.” Now, Sanders has created another ad with his campaign team, this time focused on the plight of Hispanic workers in one Florida community. The ad, which runs five minutes, will air on Univision, according to the New York Times, and tells the story of a Mexican immigrant named Udelia. Most of the ad is in Spanish with subtitles, and Sanders doesn’t even make an appearance till the three minute mark.
Once again, this Bernie Sanders ad has relatively little footage of him in it, but focuses on real people struggling in the current economy and the low wage system. For many voters, this won’t be surprising, given that many Bernie supporters have already noticed that when he gives a speech, he focuses on what “we” will do, where other politicians tend to talk about what “I” will do. Regardless of who you’re supporting for the Democratic or Republican nomination, this ad tells an important story unfair treatment of workers in this country, and is worthwhile to watch in its own right, even if you aren’t a Bernie Sanders supporter.
The ad begins with Udelia saying saying “Voy a luchar mientras,” or “I will always fight,” before showing the community she lives in and the tomato fields where she and others struggle to make enough money to survive and feed her family. She becomes emotional when talking about the low wages and the abuse of workers, talking about how they weren’t provided with water or bathrooms, and how the workers’ supervisors sometimes hit workers if they wanted to stop picking tomatoes.
“They don’t understand what we have to live through because we have families.”
While the bulk of the ad focuses on Udelia’s story, Bernie Sanders definitely plays a role in this mini-documentary, as she talks about his visit in 2008 to the small, unincorporated town of Immokalee, Florida, to see for himself the conditions and poverty, then took action to fight for them. The tomato field workers now have higher wages and the abuse has stopped, but as Sanders points out in the ad, there are many other migrant worker communities exploiting the Hispanic community with low wages and poor working conditions.
“Bernie Sanders took interest in the lives of the workers and wanted to hear their struggles. Politicians never come to Immolalee. He didn’t keep silent about what he witnessed here in Immokalee. He went to Washington DC and called the hearing With other senators to shine a spotlight on What living conditions are like in Immokalee. There are now more rights and worker support. We started to see changes in our wages. It really improved our lives.”
Sanders did comment on the Immokalee hearings in the ad briefly, discussing how their plight wasn’t just about them, but all American workers.
“How many more Immokalee’s are there? How many fields or factories are there? We have to ask ourselves, who benefits from this exploitation? And to understand, that it is not only the Immokalee workers who suffer, but every worker in America, because that pushes us into a race to the bottom.”
Like the ad by Erica Garner, this is another unconventional ad strategy, creating a short film where the main focus in on the person telling her story rather than on Sanders. Then buying a block of expensive ad time, including running this latest ad Thursday night in primetime on Univision, where it is expected to reach millions. Not that Sanders needs to worry too much about pricey ads, given he raised over $42 million in February alone, more than any other candidate, despite their Super PACs.
Also, check out the powerful video by Erica Garner for the Bernie Sanders campaign, and the uplifting ad using Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” if you need a break from the squabbling on stage at a certain recent debate.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]