Campaigning in New York City less than a week before the New York primaries, Bernie Sanders held a massive rally in Washington Square Park yesterday evening. A reported 27,000 people filled the park to hear Sanders’s message of economic and political inclusion.
“When I look out at an unbelievable crowd like this, I believe we’re going to win here in New York next Tuesday,” he told the crowd. “I don’t think that there is any doubt today that our campaign has the momentum.”
The rally was the culmination of Sanders’s campaigning around the state thus far. He touched on the central themes of his campaign and recalled moments in history when decisive political mobilization yielded tangible results:
“This campaign remembers that over the last hundreds of years, African Americans and their allies stood up, fought back and said, ‘America will not be built on segregation, racism and bigotry.’ And millions of Americans stood together and made monumental change in this country. And this campaign remembers, that 100 years ago, not a long time ago, women in America did not have the right to vote, could not get the education they wanted or the jobs they wanted. But women and their male allies stood up. They fought back. And they said, ‘women in America will be second class citizens.’ And this campaign remembers, interestingly enough, something that happened two or three blocks away from here, and that is that 47 years ago, the gay community said that in this country, right over here in the Stone Wall Inn, that in this country, people will have the right to love each other no matter what their gender is. And this campaign understands the change that is taking place right now, this moment, in American society.”
During the rally, the crowd repeatedly broke into impromptu chants of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”
“Despite what others may tell you, yes we can change the status quo, and that is what is happening all across this country today and that is what the political revolution is about,” he said.
Sanders also called out Verizon, whose employees he joined on the picket line yesterday to protest the company’s poor labor record. “Verizon is just a poster child for what so many of our corporations are doing today,” he told the crowd. “This campaign is sending a message to corporate America: you cannot have it all.”
The Vermont senator has been busy since the end of March, when presidential candidates set their sights on New York state. For both Democrats, the stakes are very high. The state has 247 delegates at stake, second only to California, and a victory here for either candidate is likely to cement the future of their campaigns. New Yorkers will go to the polls next Tuesday in the state’s closed primaries.
Photo: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders reacts to the primary election results in the states of Florida, Ohio and Illinois during a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Nancy Wiechec