Sanders blames Clinton for Michigan’s declining middle class
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersParliamentarian deals setback to GOP repeal bill OPINION | Hey Dems, Russia won't define 2018, so why not fix your party's problems instead? OPINION | They told us to abandon ObamaCare — then came the resistance MORE (I-Vt.) blasted Hilary Clinton on Friday, arguing his Democratic presidential primary rival’s policies generated Michigan’s ailing middle class.

“If the people of Michigan want to make a decision about which candidate stood with workers against corporate America and against these disastrous trade agreements, that candidate is Bernie Sanders,” he said during a rally in Traverse City, according to a campaign statement obtained by NBC News.

Sanders argued that Clinton’s support of legislation like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had helped create the Great Lakes State’s crippling poverty.

“[NAFTA] is one of the reasons that the middle class in this country is disappearing,” the self-described Democratic socialist said.

“[NAFTA and other trade deals are] crafted by the big-money interests and corporations. Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonObama intel chief wonders if Trump is trying to make 'Russia great again' Trump Jr., Manafort reach deal to avoid public hearing next week House Intel panel to interview Kushner amid Russia probe MORE was on the wrong side of many of these trade agreements.”

Sanders has been escalating his attacks against Clinton’s trade stances all week, arguing on Thursday that she has proven “very, very wrong” on the issue and caused economic misfortune.

The Vermont lawmaker is scrambling for traction with Michigan voters before its Democratic presidential primary next Tuesday. Clinton leads Sanders by nearly 18 points before ballots are cast there, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls.

He is fighting to keep his campaign viable after winning four of eleven states earlier this week on Super Tuesday. Clinton, in contrast, won seven, bringing her total of voting contest victories to 11 compared with Sanders’s five.