The Bernie Sanders Phenomenon: An Envision Alumni Accounting of the 2016 Sacramento Bernie Sanders Rally
By Jessica G.
Alumna, Intensive Law & Trial ‘15
While today’s primary elections in California and New Jersey will likely mark the mathematical clinching of the Democratic nomination for Hillary Clinton, it will probably not be the end of Bernie Sanders campaign. With platform concessions and influence over the vice presidency at stake, Sanders’s Democratic campaign will likely continue into July and the Philadelphia convention. Our Chase the Race 2016 reporters will be in attendance.
If Donald Trump represents a zeitgeist of sorts, so do Bernie Sanders’ efforts in the Democratic campaign. No campaign has energized today’s youth quite like this one, in large part because of Sanders’ promises of free college education. An Envision alumna, Jessica G., recently attended one of Bernie Sanders’ California rallies and provides her own accounting of the event for a Chase the Race 2016 guest blog.
On May 9, the 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders held a Rally at Bonney Field Cal Expo.
Though Bernie Sanders had originally fallen short nationally to Hillary R. Clinton, he has sparked what he calls a “political revolution” and has turned the polls. I wanted to see how Sanders has been able to impact all generations, but most importantly “generation Z” and the millennials, who have been Sanders’s main audience.
The Bernie Sanders Experience
I arrived at the Stadium around 3:30 p.m. and proceeded to engage in radical discussions about Bernie Sanders, California specific regulations, and other forms of political small talk. As people talked, Bernie Sanders volunteers appeared throughout the crowd to discuss his stance on certain reforms, encourage eligible voters to register for the upcoming California primary (June 7), and to offer upcoming California Propositions.
For example, volunteers brought around a proposition that would require all candidate donors to be named on their specific donations. This would include television ads, which is not currently required for California donors. The proposition intends to provide more clarity to voters in making the proper voting decisions.
After waiting in life for two hours I found myself near the front of the line. Ironically, I was taking a huge risk to attend the rally because I had a serious IB (International Baccalaureate) History exam the next morning. Right before I walked in I saw my teacher and invited her in line. She would later coach me on the exam.
On the Inside
We entered the stadium after being searched by TSA and Secret Service, and looked for the perfect sight line area. Since I was early I had the choice to go to the stands or to stand on the grass closer to Sanders. I chose the grass, and once I got into position I was so close that I received a Banner that said,“ A Future to Believe In,” Sanders main slogan.
Sanders did not go on until 8:30. During the wait an assortment of local singers and musicians played. One of the entertainers, Joe Kye with Rasar, transformed the song “Burn Baby Burn” into “Bern Baby Bern.” The song included anecdotes and was a clever infomercial that informed the crowd of some of Bernie Sanders’ ideas for the presidency. It was extremely hilarious and reminded those of us on our feet for the last three hours why we were waiting.
At 8 p.m. Bernie’s introductory speaker came out. Danny Glover, an activist and actor from San Francisco, spoke a few words that emphasized African American rights and how Bernie “has always been for us, with us”. Glover discussed the inequalities for all people within the United States, and how he believed Bernie Sanders could eventually fix the problems. Then, after about twenty minutes, Glover introduced the man the crowd had been waiting for: Bernie Sanders.
Feeling the Bern
Sanders came out and the crowd began to go wild. They first chanted “Feel The Bern” and then after about a minute changed to just “Bernie, Bernie…”. After about three minutes of respecting the crowd, Bernie Sanders began to speak. First, he addressed and thanked the major players of the rally and the Sacramento area. Then the real show began.
Bernie Sanders began by stating that “The Establishment is getting nervous,” and that “they should be because real change is coming” to reinforce his “revolution”. Revolution it may be. By the time that Sanders spoke his first words an estimated 15,000 supporters were within the stadium.
After making his remarks about the establishment and specifically GOP nominee Donald Trump, Sanders began to reflect on the past few months. He informed the crowd of his 18 recent wins and how he and his campaign were more than ready to take the race all the way to the convention in Philadelphia.
Sanders proceeded to discuss policies by comparing them to his competition, Hillary Clinton.
When Sanders discussed Super PACs, he stated that his campaign had raised over $7.3 million. He asked the crowd how much the average donation was, and they all screamed joyously “$27.” Then he began to compare this to the dollars Clinton has raised through banking and business partners.
When discussing Afghanistan, Sanders asserted that he had been against the war from the beginning, and then briefly addressed how he would change the current situation. Sanders said we needed to handle the situation with respect for one another.
He ended with his thoughts on immigration, which has been one of the most debated topics of this election season. He claimed that we should not want a president that discriminates against “Muslims, Hispanics, African Americans”, and a plethora of other racial and religious groups.
Sanders emphasized that the key to the success of our nation is the unity of it, surely trying to play against the GOP nominee Donald Trump, who Sanders believes has been more divisive than not for a country of immigrant past.
The Rally ended around 11:45 p.m. and people promptly left. Sanders stayed to take photographs and have small interviews with locals.