Outside the presidential debate, South Floridians share their views

Supporters of President Trump held hand signs and the American flag while supporters rooted for each of the Democratic candidates outside the second night of the Democratic presidential debate Thursday evening at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami.

Elvin Shoni was there in support of U. S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont because, she said, “After Donald Trump’s quite awful presidency, as a homophobic sexist, and racist divisive President, it’s time for change.”

Shoni embraces Sanders’ idea for Medicare for All, a national program that would guarantee health insurance for every American, and placing sanctions on those who harm the environment, which the President has neglected to do.

Hand-held sign by an environmentalist supporting the Green New Deal, a plan to address climate change. Photo by Camila Insuasti.

She says a president should be bringing people together.

State Sen. Jason Pizzo of Miami Beach, also outside the Arsht Center, emphasized the need to increase the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour. “A couple of tough-love measures” are necessary to enable the higher minimum wage, he said. “What Americans effectively need is wages just to keep pace with other elements of economics, whether it’s food, water or shelter.”

“The bottom line is that you should be able to work 40 hours a week, work hard, be diligent, do your job and be able to afford to live,” Pizzo said.

Prof. Ken Peters, who teaches economics at Florida International University’s MMC campus, said debt-free college is a priority. It is a necessity, he said, especially for two-year public institutions like Broward College.

Brad Talbott of Fort Myers wore a “MATH” hat outside the Center. MATH – for “Make America Think Harder” — has become candidate Andrew Yang’s slogan to celebrate numbers and facts.  “What sets Yang apart from the other candidates is that he has made thousands of people love him,” Talbott said of the former tech executive. “Progressives and libertarians. He’s empirical. “When he talks about education he mentions how 75 percent (of the) factors that predict children’s academics comes from outside the school. It’s who they surround themselves with and what the parents do at home,” said Talbott.

Yang’s goal is to invest in teachers and pay them more, and proposes giving all American adults  $1, 000 per month as a basic income as more humans lose their jobs to technology.