Sanders Draws Huge Crowd in Run Up to Virginia Primary

Sanders held a rally at the St. James on Saturday in hopes of having a big day in Virginia on Super Tuesday.

Super+Tuesday+is+March+3%2C+where+14+states+will+cast+their+votes+for+the+primary.

Isabella Pearlstein

Super Tuesday is March 3, where 14 states will cast their votes for the primary.

By Morgan Fischer, Dominion High School

Just four days before Virginians vote in the Democratic Primaries as part of Super Tuesday on March 3, over 10,000 people packed into the St. James Sports, Wellness, and Entertainment Complex on Saturday to see 2020 Democratic Front Runner and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Before Sanders took the stage, many important individuals in the community voiced their support, including Michelle Lee, a Safeway employee and a member of the UFCW Local 400 Union. She voiced her support of Bernie and how he supported working people and unions. Mark Demonstein, the leaders of the Post Office Workers Union, also spoke out in support of Bernie. 

The member of the Virginia House of Delegates for the 50th district and outspoken socialist, Lee Carter, also voiced his endorsement for Senator Sanders. Carter emphasized the importance of this upcoming election, as he said, “Tuesday’s elections is the most important election in our lifetimes.”

Then Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman from Minnesota and part of the freshman “squad” took the stage. Omar expressed her support for the Sanders campaign and voiced how the campaign should not be undermined. Omar said, “I’m tired of people dismissing the campaign and dismissing what we are doing.” She also spoke on Bernie’s policies, such as student debt and climate change.

Then, Senator Sanders took the stage. After thanking those who spoke on his behalf and the crowd, Sanders began to voice his disapproval of President Trump. He said, “For the sake of kids and future generations it is imperative that we must defeat the most dangerous President in modern [times].” He also called Trump a “pathological liar,” “corrupt,” “a total fraud,” and stated, “We cannot accept a President who is a racist, sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, and a religious bigot.” 

Sanders then began to talk about his main issues for the night: medicare, climate, and Unions and the working class. His Medicare plan is called Medicare for all. He emphasized the need for a “rational healthcare plan,” as he said, “Healthcare is a human right, not a privilege.” He said how this plan would eliminate copays and other healthcare-related costs, as well as providing millions of Americans with healthcare, and the crowd was vocal about their support of this plan.

Climate Change was another large talking point for Sanders as he emphasized the need for the Green New Deal and cracking down on the fossil fuel industry. The Green New Deal is proposed legislation that aims to address climate change and economic inequality. He described climate change as, “an issue that cannot be swept under the rug.” He also said, “Our administration will listen to scientists.” 

One of Bernie’s main talking points is the working class, as he said, “We don’t need Super PACs,” as his campaign is funded by individual donors. He said, “Eight million contributions from two million Americans, averaging $18.50 a contribution.” Sander’s dedication to the working class is also seen through his policies such as increasing the minimum wage to $15, having equal pay for equal work, and supporting unions. His campaign reported raising over 42 million in February, with the average donation being just $30.

Sander’s message seemed to resonate with many young people, as young people make up a large majority of his base. Sanders spoke on many issues important to young people, such as education and gun control. Sanders emphasized that “no job is more important than educating our kids.” He started his support and respect for teachers, and said, “We need to raise their salaries to $60,000 a year.” He also said that he wants to make college free by increasing the taxes on Wall Street. On the issues of gun control, Sanders emphasized the need for “sweeping gun safety reform,” “universal background checks,” “ending the gun show loophole,” and “banning assault weapons.” 

Sanders won in the New Hampshire primary and the Nevada caucus, as well as a close second place in Iowa. Bernie hopes to win big on Super Tuesday and emphasized the importance of coming out to the polls. He said, “We beat Trump [by having the] largest voter turnout in the history of this country.”

This story was originally published on DHS Press on March 2, 2020.