ED/OP Bernie Sanders Rally at Drexel University’s Liacouras Center
Bernie Sanders made a brief campaign stop in Philly at Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center on Monday April 25th, 2016 on the eve of the Pennsylvania Primary. With nearly twice as many Democratic delegates up for grabs as any of the other 4 states with primaries today (CT, MD, DE, RI) Pennsylvania could certainly sway momentum towards the Sanders camp, which currently trails the Clinton team 1,192 to 1,944. With 1,629 delegates yet to be assigned all eyes will be on Pennsylvania today, as only 2,383 delegates are needed to win the nomination. For those of you not keeping track of the math at home, the outcome of PA’s 210 delegates today means one of two simple things: either Bernie wins our state today and finds himself more than halfway to the nomination with 17 (or more) states behind him, or Clinton pulls into striking range for clinching the Democratic nomination for President. Today is kind of a big one.
So I found myself yet again visiting a Philadelphia University last minute to hear the man who has already locked in my vote speak to his base on the night before their much-needed action. Throngs of students and supporters from a multitude of nationalities pack into and around Drexel’s gymnasium, eager to hear Sanders remind them what it is we they will be casting their ballots for. Aptly titled ‘A Future to Believe In,’ this Get Out The Vote rally also featured bookending speeches from actors Kendrick Sampson and Susan Sarandon, but the real feature of the night was a promised conversation from Bernie himself about “the issues that matter: making college tuition-free, getting big money out of politics, combating climate change, and much more.” For anyone attending University in Philadelphia or the surrounding area, this would prove to be a speech covering issues that hit very close to home.
Bernie prefaced his remarks by announcing that many of the topics he would be addressing aren’t often covered by mainstream media: reducing student debt, raising the minimum wage to $15, extending public education beyond 12th grade, equal pay for Women, overturning Citizens United. This last one truly stands out; one of the talking points that Bernie mentioned wouldn’t be covered on “corporately owned Television networks” early on in his speech is that corporations are currently in the process of buying elections. It has been easy to see in the preceding week’s primaries the role that money and corporate influence has played on the outcome of these contests; though he drew a record crowd of 25,000+ to a recent NYC rally, Sanders still lost the state 58 to 42% to Clinton last week. The popular vote continues to seemingly surge for Sanders, while Clinton’s delegate count rises and rises. Is the fix in? Is it too late to transform our Government?
Time will tell, but 2/3rds of the way thru his speech to the overflow crowd at DU last night, Bernie hit a talking point that struck a chord with me: “This campaign is not about electing a new President, it’s about transforming the country and becoming the nation that [we] know we can become!” Bernie isn’t just asking for our vote, he is asking for action on real issues, some of which he is truly the first to face head on with believable conviction. The issues that seem to really light a fire in Bernie’s belly when he speaks on them are the same ones that resonate with me as a voter, and that I would imagine to be near to the hearts of the students assembled at 32nd and Market Sreets: a Woman’s right to choose, our gay brothers and sisters right to marry, a guarantee for paid/medical/maternity leave and universal healthcare. These goals seem realistic when Bernie speaks on them, and regardless of the outcome of the primary or general election his campaign has been about organizing the people under these collective agreements and demanding change from the establishment. Looking around last night I would say we are pretty organized: one number continues not to lie, and that is the astounding amount of public support that Bernie continues to draw all over the Country. Real numbers capable of affecting real change,
Since the beginning of this election cycle the naysayers have tried to stop me from spending time and energy campaigning for Bernie Sanders largely due to one main argument: he can’t win. They said it when he was 60 points back, and they still say it now while some polls put him ahead. But they are missing the point: I am not voting or volunteering for Bernie because I think he can win, I am with him because I AGREE with him. President or not, he is a leader I trust. I stand with Senator Sanders because he is an unwavering representation of pure conviction: a man unafraid to be unpopular if it means being RIGHT. I felt that same fire last night listening to him speak as I did 2 weeks ago at the Liacouras center, and I realize that this 74 year old man continues to travel the country tirelessly, speaking to record crowds all over the United States on the days and weeks before their primaries, calling upon them to take the same action as us: “to tell the establishment…the 1%…that we NEED change, and we CAN make BIG changes.”
Twice now under the helm of this man I have felt an assemblage of my fellow Philadelphian and Pennsylvania’s capable of making that big change happen. I felt it in the roar of the crowd when Bernie told us that if we “stand up and fight back, there is nothing we can’t accomplish.” When surrounded by my fellow Bernie Supporters I truly feel our potential to create great change together. More light has been shed on the political process of our country in the last 4 months than the last 14 years. Awareness is at an all time high; something is very, very wrong and it needs to be fixed. President or no President, Bernie Sanders is the man for that job and along with thousands upon thousands of others, I will continue to follow him and his plans for action until that change is realized. There are 50 states in this union, and 16 of them have already been decided for Senator Sanders. That is a very real number. That’s more than the number of original colonies it took to found this Country in the first place. That is almost a third of the entire Country as it is. I cannot speak for the thousands of my brothers and sisters in attendance at the Daskalakis center last night, but I know that personally I have found my revolution. This is the man whose lead I will follow; this is the campaign that has my full support. Today I will drive over an hour to Pennsyltucky to cast my vote where it matters most, and with a little luck and a lot of voter turnout I hope to assist the great state of Pennsylvania into moving forward and becoming the 17th state to join Bernie Sanders in this Political Revolution!! Get out and VOTE!