A day after Hillary Clinton was feted by her fans in Harlem, Sen. Bernie Sanders sought to up the ante in his hometown, drawing thousands of delirious supporters to a small park in the Bronx.
Mr. Sanders, speaking at a campaign rally in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx tonight, declared that he would “reinvest” in the poverty-stricken South Bronx and, as always, make this country a place that doesn’t just work for the “millionaires and billionaires.” He wasted little time gleefully drawing contrasts between himself and the former secretary of state, who has courted Wall Street, set up a super PAC to back her candidacy, and supported the Iraq War and past free-trade deals.
“We’ve got some very real differences,” Mr. Sanders, sounding notably hoarse, declared. “Establishment politics and establishment economics, the same old same old, is not working and this is what this campaign is about.”
Irking Clinton supporters everywhere, he returned to a favorite vulnerability: her six-figure speaking fees. “As some of you know, Secretary Clinton has given a lot of speeches on Wall Street behind closed doors and she has received 250,000 bucks a speech,” he said. “Now, I kinda think that if you are gonna get paid $250,000 for a speech, it must be a brilliant speech, it must be an earth-shattering speech written in Shakespearean prose.”
His Bronx stump speech was typical Bernie, with little flourishes and local wrinkles for a Big Apple crowd. The Brooklyn native noted he grew up in the city and attended its public schools, and spoke specifically about cutting down on high asthma rates in the Bronx and creating more affordable housing.
The lone Bronx elected official supporting Mr. Sanders, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, said at the rally tonight that the Democratic machine had pressured him into endorsing the more moderate Ms. Clinton—and he had to say no, citing the devastation of the Iraq War. Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres, who is officially neutral in the primary, also attended the rally.
“Bernie is a man of integrity,” Mr. Sepulveda said. “Bernie is a man who’s gonna lead this revolution.”
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont kicked off his effort to win the April 19 New York Democratic presidential primary with a large, boisterous rally in the Bronx on Thursday night, highlighting his local roots and telling New Yorkers that he would work to make sure people have well-paying jobs, affordable housing and access to good public education.
Mr. Sanders spoke to an estimated 18,500 supporters at St. Mary’s Park, where he vowed to provide more resources to the Bronx and other communities across the country. He also told supporters at the outdoor event that they would be critical to winning the nomination and to carrying out his policies.
“What this campaign is about is creating a political revolution,” Mr. Sanders told his cheering supporters. ”You are the heart and soul of this revolution.”
Mr. Sanders also focused on his background, telling the crowd that his New York upbringing influenced his platform. “I learned a little bit about what it means to grow up in a family that has no money and I also learned a little bit about the immigrant experience — those lessons I will never forget,” he said.
The event was one of the most diverse gatherings Mr. Sanders has hosted in months, with many black and Latino supporters in the crowd chanting his name continually.
Mr. Sanders said winning New York would mean a victory in the general election in November.
“If there is a large voter turnout, we will win,” Mr. Sanders said. “And if we win here in New York, we are going to make it to the White House.”
Speaking to a crowd of as many as 8,000 who intermittently broke into chants of "Bernie, Bernie!" in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Thursday morning, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders castigated trade deals and pledged to end what he called an "oligarchy" running the country.
"People are rejecting the options that the corporate media gives us," the Vermont senator and democratic socialist said near the conclusion of an address that lasted more than an hour. "They are saying we can create an America that works for us, not just the few."
Sanders also drew contrasts with his primary opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He noted that she'd previously supported trade pacts and the Iraq War that he opposed, and that her campaign drew on the support of "Super PACs" — part of a campaign-finance system he said was corrupt.
The speech ran through a checklist of progressive issues that included Sanders' support for LGBT rights and reproductive freedom. Sanders, who has lagged Clinton in support from minority groups, also addressed the need to reinvest in inner city neighborhoods, making special mention of the water crisis in Flint, Mich.
"Change takes place, historically and now, when people stand up … and say 'the status quo is not acceptable,'" Sanders concluded.
Audience members, many of whom had waited hours in lines that stretched well into an adjoining parking garage, were enthusiastic, chanting along with Sanders' assertion that his average campaign donation was "Twenty! Seven! Dollars!" Ryan Hughes, the campaign's state field director, estimated the crowd at roughly 8,000 people, and said another 1,000 had been turned away.
At an earlier news conference, flanked by members of the United Steelworkers and other unions, Sanders told reporters that, "Together, we are going to rebuild the trade union movement in this country."
Bernie Sanders continued to hammer Hillary Clinton on trade while campaigning in Pittsburgh Thursday, pledging to fundamentally rewrite “disastrous” trade deals -- including the North American Free Trade Agreement -- if elected president.
The independent senator from Vermont also said he would reject the massive 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Obama administration priority that requires congressional approval. Sanders noted that Clinton backed the TPP while serving as secretary of state -- calling it the “gold standard” of trade deals -- and spoke favorably about it "some 45 times" before coming out against it in October.
More recently, Clinton suggested she's open to modifying it.
“Now she says she has reservations about it and when a whole lot of people put pressure on her she decided to oppose it,” Sanders said at a news conference,flanked by union members. “I will not renegotiate the TPP, I will reject it.”
Sanders said he would not send trade agreements to Congress that would make it easier for corporations to move abroad, increase the price of prescription drugs or deregulate Wall Street.
“We have to lift up the standard of living of workers in this country and throughout the world,” he said. “Trade is a good thing. But it has got to be based on fair principles, not unfettered free trade.”
There was no shortage of people for the first Pittsburgh campaign stop among the presidential candidates. The crowd that packed the Convention Center is now estimated at 8,500 people.
Guaranteed his polls won’t drop. He will make it to the top. Go Bernie go, Go Bernie go,” Jim Kalina said.
Sanders told the crowd that his humble beginnings guide his political philosophy.
Young people and middle-aged voters are finding inspiration from his message.
“Someone is finally speaking for the working class people. Someone is saying my voice. Someone else is saying the things that need to be told to America,” said one rally-goer.
“What it all comes down to is, we probably won’t have a candidate like Bernie during my lifetime again, or if we do, it’ll be a long time before it comes. So, it’s important to us to be able to come here and see him when we have the chance,” Pitt sophomore Derek Jones said.
“I think he’s the perfect candidate for what we’re looking for as we head into the workforce,” Duquesne University student Don Crawford said. “The voting age is 18. You can never really be too young to support the political process and to really care about the current state of the United States.”
At approximately 6 AM Thursday morning, the Sanders campaign’s donation tracker showed the Vermont senator with just over $39 million raised from roughly 1.6 million contributions, which is no small feat in and of itself. However, once the campaign announced a goal of breaking February’s previous record of $43.5 million, Sanders’ army of small-dollar supporters went in one last time to help Sanders break his old record.
Just before 9 PM Eastern, Sanders’ campaign Twitter account pushed his supporters to boost him to the finish line by quoting a tweet from Politico’s Annie Karni, who covers Hillary Clinton, predicting Sanders to fall short of breaking his February record:
While Hillary Clinton hasn’t made her March fundraising totals public yet, Sanders outraised the former Secretary of State in both January and February, and will likely do so again for third consecutive month. Last month, Sanders beat Clinton in fundraising by approximately $13 million. In January, Sanders brought in a fundraising haul of $20 million, which was $5 million more than his rival.
When adding March numbers to Sanders’ previous numbers, his campaign has now raised over $183 million since Spring of 2015, when he launched his campaign. At the end of February, Clinton had raised $161 million. Whether or not she’ll still be leading Sen. Sanders in overall fundraising totals is not immediately known.
Students are planning to come en masse to a Bernie Sanders campaign stop Friday at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Sanders' campaign has announced three more events in Wisconsin ahead of the April 5 primary election, including additional stops in Sheboygan and Madison. The free Green Bay rally will take place at 7 p.m. in the Kress Events Center, 2358 Leon Bond Drive. Doors will open at 4 p.m. Admission is first come, first served. RSVPs are strongly encouraged, the campaign said.
Sanders is appealing to young, progressive college students because of his proposal to make public colleges and universities tuition-free and his support of universal health care, said Brandilyn Kochera, of the UWGB student Democrats group.
The 20-year-old senior said hundreds of students plan to attend the event, and some will line up as early as 9 a.m. to get seats.
"Younger students experiencing a presidential election for the first time are really fired up about Bernie," she said. "His coming to campus is making them even more energetic to go out and vote in the primary."
"This is proving to be an extraordinary week on campus. As a public institution of higher education, political discourse of this nature should be a part of the university experience. This is the place where important conversations regarding our country’s future are designed to take place," UWGB Chancellor Gary Miller said in a statement.
Bernie Sanders, by comparison, is a longtime champion of the cannabis cause.
More than 20 years ago, he co-sponsored HR 2618, which would have amended the Controlled Substances Act to authorize medical marijuana federally. In 1997, he fought for medical cannabis again by co-sponsoring the Medical Use of Marijuana Act. He co-sponsored the States’ Rights to Medical Marijuana Act in 2001 and 2005. He co-sponsored the Industrial Hemp Farming Acts of 2012, 2013, and 2015. Last year, he co-sponsored the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act.
Sanders’ resolve has only strengthened since announcing his presidential bid. In October 2015, he publicly announced his intention to completely remove cannabis from the DEA’s schedule of controlled substances. He even introduced a Senate bill to that effect, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015.
He won’t stop at cannabis legalization. Sanders is committed to re-enfranchising those who lost their right to vote after serving felony drug time, banning for-profit prisons, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses, giving cannabis businesses and industry professionals equal access to banking, and stopping local governments from using criminalization as a source of revenue.
So which candidate should cannabis advocates back this election?
When choosing whom to lend their vote (and financial support) to, I ask all cannabis advocates to ask themselves: Do you want a candidate with a 20-plus year track record of fighting for federal cannabis legalization, sensible drug policy, and criminal justice reform? Or do you want a candidate who openly opposed cannabis reform until it became politically untenable (and even then only avowed tepid leadership), who supported policies that further institutionalized mass incarceration for cannabis consumers, and whose campaign is, at least partially, funded by the pharmaceutical industry?
To me, the answer is clear.
Rachel Maddow posed an interesting question to Sen. Bernie Sanders during their interview on Wednesday: Would he like to see the Republican Party just disappear? Sanders' answer was also an interesting one. He didn't take the bait; instead, he offered an alternative theory—the GOP would disappear if corporate media simply told the truth about the party's agenda.
Sanders didn't mean that as hyperbole. By his estimate, the Republican Party would drop to single-digit support if it weren't for negligence by the press:
I think if we had a media in this country that was really prepared to look at what the Republicans actually stood for rather than quoting every absurd remark of Donald Trump, talking about Republican Party, talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for the top two tenths of 1 percent, cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid, a party which with few exceptions doesn't even acknowledge the reality of climate change, let alone do anything about it, a party which is not prepared to stand with women in the fight for pay equity, a party that is not prepared to do anything about a broken criminal justice system or a corrupt campaign finance system, I think, to be honest with you—and I just don't, you know, say this rhetorically, this is a fringe party. It is a fringe party. Maybe they get 5, 10 percent of the vote.
"The Republican Party today now is a joke," he continued, "maintained by a media which really does not force them to discuss their issues."
Sanders was returning to one of his driving issues over the years—a fervent belief that corporate-owned media was steering democracy off a cliff. In 1979, he wrote an essay arguing that TV networks were "using the well-tested Hitlerian principle that people should be treated as morons and bombarded over and over again with the same simple phrases and ideas" to prevent them from thinking critically about the world around them. He hit those same themes (albeit more diplomatically) in his book, Outsider in the House, arguing that TV news coverage was dumbing down America by inundating viewers with superficial coverage of O.J. Simpson instead of "corporate disinvestment in the United States."
Cenk Uygur, host of the self-proclaimed “biggest online news show in the world”, The Young Turks, is in typically bombastic form as he speaks on the phone from Los Angeles.
Fresh from interviewing the US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, he spends the 30 minutes of our conversation relentlessly promoting his company and his show, with his progressive politics acting as a thread to tie it all together.
“As Bernie Sanders is the political revolution, we are the media revolution,” he begins, talking in an easy, compelling style honed by years of broadcasting without the aid of a teleprompter.
“We didn’t get to be this popular because I’m such a great host. That’s not how something this big arises. We got this big because we believe the same thing that the majority of the American people believe, and we’re almost alone in the media believing it.”
Today, The Young Turks (TYT) is an online news network of 32 YouTube channels, 12 of which they own and operate. The main channel, which deals chiefly with politics, entertainment and hard news stories, has 2.7 million subscribers.
The full length Bernie Sanders interview, clocking in at 33 minutes, has so far received more than one million views on YouTube alone.