Sen. Bernie Sanders rallies for Liz Watson in Bloomington

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind.– Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke in Bloomington Friday as part of his nine-state battleground tour on behalf of the Democrats ahead of the midterm elections.

The rally was for Liz Watson, who is challenging Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-Ind.

Sanders is expected to make a decision on whether to launch another campaign in the coming months and the tour could inform his decision. It will allow him to test the durability of the left-leaning coalition he assembled in 2016 and build relationships with elected officials who could serve as allies should he run again.

Other stops on his October calendar include Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, home to crucial early contests on the 2020 primary calendar.

Sanders has been at the center of a debate over the party’s future and whether his agenda of free college tuition, a $15 hourly minimum wage and a “Medicare for all” health care can win over general-election voters. The senator is coming off a victory after Amazon announced recently it would raise its wages for its workers to $15 per hour starting next month, and will raise pay for employees who make more than that, responding in part to pressure from Sanders.

Over the weekend, the Vermont independent will have events in South Carolina and Iowa.

Sanders is heavily favored to win re-election next month to a third term as Vermont’s senator, allowing him to travel the nation in the weeks before the election. Sanders has called Trump a “pathological liar” who has bitterly divided the nation on social policies while overseeing an economic agenda that has further aggravated income and wealth inequality.

“We are clearly in an unprecedented moment in American history, a very, very dangerous moment. We have an unstable president who is a liar, who has very strong authoritarian tendencies,” Sanders said during a campaign event in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, last month.

But he said there has been a “waking up among the American people, a desire to move this country in a very different direction, a disgust with the movement of this country toward oligarchy.”

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