Bill Clinton marches with union workers in Detroit Labor Day parade

Monday, September 5, 2016 - 5:05pm

Former President Bill Clinton joined United Auto Workers union members and others for the annual Detroit Labor Day Parade Monday morning aiming to demonstrate the Hillary Clinton campaign’s commitment to working families.

The parade began at 9:30 a.m. and marched down Michigan Avenue. Bill Clinton marched, but did not speak during the event which drew thousands of union workers and other prominent state Democrats. The annual parade in Detroit has drawn important Democratic figures in the past, including President Barack Obama in 2008 and Vice President Joe Biden 2012 and 2014.

The parade’s theme was Your Vote is Your Voice and was dedicated to supporting working families and improving unions, as well as encouraging voter registration.

LSA junior Collin Kelly, chair of the University’s chapter of College Democrats, said Bill Clinton’s visit demonstrates that Hillary Clinton is the candidate who will best represent the interests of the working class.

“Bill Clinton coming to Detroit on Labor Day signifies the commitment of both the Democratic Party and the Clinton family to honoring, protecting and fighting for workers across the nation,” he said. “Unions built this country, but only Democrats seem to remember that. Bill Clinton knows that unions are part of why America is great, and he understands they are indispensable for our future.”

Clinton’s appearance was one of several similar events held by surrogates for his wife’s campaign Monday: Hillary Clinton, along with running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D–Va.) and Biden, hosted events in other Rust Belt areas such as Cleveland and Pittsburgh. 

In a statement released Monday morning, Hillary Clinton emphasized her commitment to workers in Michigan, citing her support for the auto industry and criticizing her opponent Donald Trump, stating that his policies would only harm the middle class.

“Don’t let anyone tell you we can’t ‘Make it in America’ anymore,” Clinton said. “Michiganders are proving every single day that we can still compete and win in a global economy.”

Bill Clinton’s visit followed a Michigan stop by Trump on Saturday at Great Faith Ministries International church in Detroit as an attempt to court Black voters. This was Trump’s third visit to the state since his official nomination in July. 

Hillary Clinton's most recent visit to Michigan was on Aug. 11, when she addressed workers at Futuramic Tool & Engineering to talk about how her economic plans are best suited for the working class.

Though a recent Suffolk University poll showed Clinton up by 7 points in the state, Michigan is considered a possible swing state this election cycle. Trump receives a large amount of support from non-college educated white men, making the middle class and the Rust Belt states particularly important for Clinton. In 2012, this demographic represented nearly half of all voters, and currently Trump is doing even better with this group than Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee.