Bernie Sanders supporters showed up in droves today at the candidate’s Brooklyn rally, undeterred by the nippy cold weather and wind gusts that sent even the NYPD tugboat off of Greenpoint’s Transmitter Park a’bobbin (perfectly in-synch with the pump-up soundtrack’s reggae rotation, I might add). The mood was elated as the Brooklynite presidential candidate prepares to battle it out with Hillary Clinton for New York state delegates, a fight set to go down on her (sort-of) home turf less than two weeks from today.
“We’ve won the last six out of seven caucuses,” Bernie said to resounding cheers. “We started this campaign at 60 points behind and the last poll had us ahead of Secretary Clinton.” Even the babies were whooping at that sentiment, caught up in the growing optimism amongst Bernie supporters as the race’s underdog (lest we forget that Jesse Ventura threatened to throw his hat into the ring as well) continues to gain on Hillary.
In defiance of expectations about Clinton sweeping the New York primary (polls at the beginning of March showed her leading by 48 points here), the latest numbers indicate that, at about 13 points behind Clinton, Bernie is gaining on the Democratic frontrunner.
Rafael Espinal, the Bushwick City Council member (and other bearded Brooklyn Democratic politico) opened up the rally with some jabbing remarks reserved for the Bernie doubters. Without getting too close to stepping on the Clinton family jewels, Espinal said that people supporting a candidate solely for “their name” are “selling this country short.” The CM made a point of singling out real estate interests– another powerful lobbying group Bernie has knocked– for the creation of a rental market catering to the “top one percent” only. Espinal was followed by actress Susan Sarandon (just one of a gaggle of celebrities supporting Bernie that the Washington Post called sooooooo “random”), who also showed her support for Bernie, declaring him the only candidate who has throughout his career remained true to his current platform.
As was expected, Bernie took advantage of his epic podium stance with his back to the Manhattan skyline– pants flapping wildly in the wind, but his unruly mane holding fast– to tick off his lofty ambitions for the Presidency. “The truth is that this country has a lot of problems, and those problems are not going to be solved by establishment politics and establishment economics. The way those problems will be dealt with is by a political revolution,” he said. “Millions of people need to stand up, fight back, and tell the billionaire class that they cannot have it all. Together we are going to create an economy that works for all of us, not just the one percent.” One way he’d achieve this, Bernie said, is by “breaking up the major financial institutions.”
Aside from general revolution, the candidate touched on a broad set of issues, all the way from women’s rights (in the face of a new series of paternalistic laws in the South), to the heroin epidemic and removing marijuana from Schedule I.
The candidate, who was raised in Flatbush, said he grew up in Brooklyn “a short time ago” and segued into to the problem of student debt and his promise to make tuition at public universities and colleges free. As for issues that New Yorkers might feel most connected to, Bernie dubbed the federal minimum wage of $7.25 a “starvation wage.”
Watch our video for more, and don’t forget to vote at the New York State primary on Tuesday, April 19. You can use this handy dandy lil’ search tool to locate your local polling station.