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Bern-Storming Through The South Bronx

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Bern-Storming Through The South Bronx

Bernie Sanders Rally

Bernie Sanders addressed thousands of supporters assembled in the South Bronx last night in the lead up to New York’s presidential primaries, on April 19. He repeated his vision of economic, criminal and social justice reform to the massive crowd assembled in St. Mary’s Park.

Sanders promised that a victory in state’s upcoming primaries would propel him to the Democratic nomination and eventually to the White House itself. “If there is a large voter turnout, we will win,” he said to the diverse crowd of 15,000. “And if we win here in New York, we are going to make it to the White House.”

The excited crowd repeatedly broke into chants of “Bernie,” from the moment Vermont’s junior senator stepped on stage until his exit. He repeated his call for creating a political revolution, taking on special interests and creating a host of publicly-funded social services like universal healthcare and tuition-free public education.

“You are the heart and soul of this revolution,” he said. “We want a government that represents all of us, not just wealthy campaign contributors.”

Sanders delivered his strongest points towards the end of his speech, when he critiqued “establishment politics and establishment economics,” for advancing wealth inequality, childhood poverty, low wages and the gender pay gap.

The rally also focused on cementing Sanders’s association with New York City, especially its minority communities. Rosario Dawson, a famous daughter of the city who grew up in the Lower East Side, took to the stage prior to Sanders’s speech, in part to criticize the Clinton camp for trying to convince voters to support her for the sake of defeating Donald Trump.

“No, we’re not in the general election. We’re in the primary and everyone should have their say,” she said. Director Spike Lee, who grew up in Brooklyn, simply proclaimed, “Bernie has to win New York City.”

The stakes are high for Sanders and Clinton in New York, given their connections to the state. Despite residing in Vermont for decades, Sanders identifies strongly with his Brooklyn roots; his unmistakable accent doesn’t belong to the Green Mountain State. And Clinton served New York in the U.S. Senate for eight years before becoming Secretary of State during President Obama’s first term.

“I think he spoke about the issues, especially in the climate sense, because the Bronx has really bad air pollution,” said Angello Maggio, a Yonkers resident who works in the city and is volunteering for the campaign. “Everyone knows that except the media, because no one talks about it. It’s one of the most polluted areas in the country and he really hit that spot really hard. No other candidate came to the South Bronx. Most candidates would have gone to Manhattan or Brooklyn.”

Other attendees, undeterred by arguments of political unfeasibility, were attracted to the common sense message and tone of Sanders’s policies. Sanders promised a federal minimum wage of $15 if he became president in November and cited the recent victories of the $15 minimum wage movement in Seattle, New York City and, most recently, the entire state of California as proof that such a plan was politically feasible.

“I just feel that his ideas are very practical and they’re very much what a normal person would be thinking,” said Mena McCarthy, a college student living in Queens. “He’s really trying to appeal to the masses of people, but in a good way. Not through hatred, but through love and equality.”

“Our current system is not sustainable. Our healthcare costs are soaring. The ACA covered a lot of people but I think people are getting really frustrated with rising deductibles and copayments,” said Hannah Moreira, a medical and public health student studying in the Bronx who has fought for a single payer health plan for five years. “There’s going to be a huge pushback from special interests, but I think it is feasible.”

Despite Clinton’s strong roots across the state, Sanders and his policies have the opportunity to perform well outside of New York City, too. The demographics of upstate New York resemble those of other Midwestern states where Sanders has performed well. And his brand of progressive populism has already been well-received in those parts of the state.

In 2014, Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham law professor with very little money and no name recognition, ran a surprisingly strong challenge to Andrew Cuomo’s bid for the Democratic nomination during the state’s gubernatorial race, on a platform calling for political reform and limits on campaign contributions. She is now running for a congressional seat in New York’s 19th congressional district, which includes counties she handily won during her 2014 challenge to Cuomo. Her campaign’s insurgent strength could provide a roadmap for Sanders.

Most polling has shown Clinton leading by double digits over Sanders in New York; in one Quinnipiac poll of the state taken over the past week, her lead was reduced to 12 points. There are 291 delegates up for grabs in the state, making the New York primary the greatest electoral prize of the Democratic race so far. Only California exceeds New York in delegate count.



  1. @HawaiianTater April 1, 2016

    Wow. An unbiased article about Bernie on National Memo. Color me shocked. Well done, Saif.

  2. JPHALL April 2, 2016

    Just a positive one of many.

  3. dtgraham April 2, 2016

    Unbelievable. An unbiased article about Bernie on the National Memo. You don’t have to praise him, and we’re honestly not interested in seeing the National Memo tear down Hillary either. Just give Bernie a break, and be fair. That’s all we ask.

    1. Mr Corrections April 2, 2016

      “Unbiased” = “Doesn’t point out he can’t actually win”

      1. dtgraham April 2, 2016

        No, that would be a factually incorrect article because he can still actually win mathematically.

        “Unbiased” = printing an article about him campaigning in NY without also telling us that he’s a pie-in-the-sky socialist with simple minded ideas that won’t work. That’s par for the course here, but this is a nice change.

        1. Mr Corrections April 2, 2016

          What you’re actually mad about is that nobody is publishing the thoroughly discredited anti-Clinton conspiracy theories that you believe in.

          I hope that helps!

          1. dtgraham April 2, 2016

            Reuters and the IRS didn’t think that non-disclosure of foreign government donations to the Clinton Foundation was just a conspiracy theory. It wasn’t either. Neither was the Clintons lying about it.

            I didn’t say that I believe any of the other right-wing fake Clinton scandals. I don’t. Especially Benghazi. There are enough of them though that I might have to double check a few of them. I’ve forgotten them all.

            I hope that helps!

          2. Mr Corrections April 2, 2016

            100% false, yet again.

          3. dtgraham April 3, 2016

            Except the one I talked about.

          4. Mr Corrections April 3, 2016

            Yeah, the “one you talked about” is the false part.

          5. dtgraham April 3, 2016

            Unfortunately, reality is not on your side. Reuters did uncover the Clinton lie about not taking money from foreign governments while she was Secretary of State. They found that the Foundation did indeed. The IRS did actually order tax returns for those 3 years to be redone and also ordered audits. That actually did happen.

          6. Mr Corrections April 3, 2016

            Sorry, false, and the IRS asking for an audit is not actually evidence (or even related to) your conspiracy theory. Good job smearing a charity, though – Rupert is very pleased.

          7. dtgraham April 3, 2016

            I’m not up on the news on the other Earth in the parallel string theory dimension to mine. You’ve found a way through the multi-dimensional spacetime continuum to contact me, but you’ll have to fill me in on these things. Of course on my earth, these Clinton facts have been widely reported on and are all over our internet.

            On your Earth, Reuters must have reported that Hillary didn’t take a dime from any foreign governments. I’ll bet she’s telling Wall Street to keep their damn money on your Earth. I’ll bet that on your Earth, “I was deleting all my e-mails” is still a great excuse for Hillary to be late for something.

            Keep me posted.

          8. Mr Corrections April 3, 2016

            OK sorry that you think doubling down on your grotesque conspiracy theory counts as evidence; it doesn’t work for 9/11 truthers, it doesn’t work for anti-vaxxers, and it doesn’t work for you, a guy who is baselessly smearing a charity.

          9. dtgraham April 3, 2016

            Oh no, you misunderstand. It’s not my grotesque conspiracy theory. It’s the entire media’s. The National — don’t vote for Bernie Sanders — Memo notwithstanding.

          10. Mr Corrections April 3, 2016

            “The entire media” meaning Peter Schweizer, the Koch brothers, and Rupert Murdoch.

            How do you look at yourself in the mirror? You are passing on thoroughly debunked conspiracy theories ABOUT A CHARITY that have no basis in anything but right-wing lies.

          11. dtgraham April 3, 2016

            Nope. The New York Times doesn’t count as right wing lies.

          12. Mr Corrections April 3, 2016

            Sorry that you think that reprinting a conspiracy theory counts as evidence that it is correct; it doesn’t. Again, the charity you are smearing has an “A” rating in transparency from the independent watchdog CharityWatch; every one of your claims has been thoroughly debunked and you have been linked to evidence showing that. Your additional insinuations that somehow donating money to the Foundation in any way benefits the Clintons have also been shown to be false.

            You are smearing a charity and it is disgraceful, although unsurprising – you aren’t any kind of liberal, you’re just an anti-Clinton zealot.

          13. dtgraham April 3, 2016

            You have been linked to evidence showing otherwise. Like you needed to be.

            From a democratic socialist.

          14. Mr Corrections April 3, 2016

            You have not linked to a single piece of evidence for your outrageous and thoroughly disproved claims. Please don’t lie.

          15. dtgraham April 4, 2016

            I left you 3 links on David Kay Johnson’s hit piece concerning Bernie’s tax return. I can leave more. You don’t need me to hold your hand. Look it up yourself. You’ll have no problems.

          16. Mr Corrections April 4, 2016

            Those three links merely repeated the baseless allegations. They contained zero evidence.

            But go ahead; state the worst thing you think you know about the Clinton Foundation, and I’ll effortlessly debunk it.

          17. dtgraham April 4, 2016

            Effortlessly debunk it = saying zero evidence all the time.

          18. Mr Corrections April 4, 2016

            If you can’t provide any evidence, it’s difficult to debunk. Let me know when you have some.


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