The Hill article Washington, DC — Skateboarding is a hot topic in this election season.
The sport has become a political battleground, and candidates are looking for ways to win over swing voters who are passionate about the sport.
So far, there is no presidential candidate who has been as enthusiastic about the idea of a skater in the Oval Office as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
While many of his supporters support the idea, most have expressed concern that a presidential candidate would use the sport as a vehicle for pandering.
“Skateboarding, as an American tradition, has been a powerful symbol of freedom and the freedom to skate,” Sanders wrote in a letter to his supporters in August.
“I am determined to protect the sport from any attempt by any candidate to take it away.”
Sanders has repeatedly said he is not looking to make the sport a political issue, but has focused on bringing it to the forefront in the public sphere, rather than just being an issue that happens to be discussed in a campaign rally.
His campaign website calls the sport “a form of freedom that should be afforded to all Americans.”
“Skateboards are not toys, but are a form of exercise and recreation,” the website says.
“We believe that everyone should be able to enjoy the sport and enjoy the freedom it brings.”
But many who know Sanders say he’s not always the most politically correct person in the room, and the issue has not been an issue of his making.
When Sanders campaigned for Clinton in South Carolina in 2016, he was booed for his response to a question about why he would not endorse Trump for president, and later when he said in a television interview that he did not think Trump was a racist.
Sanders has said he does not support Trump because he is running against “a corrupt system,” and the idea that a politician would use skateboarding as a political weapon is one that has been repeatedly raised by Democrats.
“The more you talk about skateboarding, the more you’re making it a wedge issue for Trump,” Sanders told CBS News host Chuck Todd on January 5.
“So I’m not sure why you would be talking about it as a wedge.
But I think that if you do it as part of your stump speech, that it is a great opportunity for people to hear what you have to say.”
When the election comes up, it’s hard not to compare skateboarding to the 2016 campaign.
Clinton’s campaign has released video of Clinton talking about the “beautiful game of skates” during her first campaign stop in Iowa, and her team recently released a video of her speaking about the issue on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“It’s a great way to raise awareness of the game,” Sanders said on “Face the Nation.”
“It’s not something that we should be pandering to.
And I’m certainly not trying to do that.”
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