Harsh weather conditions didn’t stop more than 50 Bernie Sanders supporters from rallying in Albany this Monday. With the upcoming New York primary election on April 19, Sanders supporters are calling for New Yorkers to go out and “Feel the Bern.”
While Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was not at the rally, dozens of students, workers, veterans, politicians and public advocates from groups such as Citizen Action of New York were building excitement for the progressive candidate ahead of this month’s primary. They say the United States needs a government that works for the majority of Americans and they believe Sanders’ policies reflect that goal.
“Citizen Action are proud early endorsers of Bernie Sanders for president. Middle class and working families are being crushed by the one percent. In order to get an economy that works for all of us, we need to get our democracy back,” said Karen Scharff of Citizen Action New York.
Sanders supporters chanted “Feel the Bern” and held up signs that said; “Bernie is Not for Sale”, “Labor for Bernie,” “Vote Bernie for the Middle Class” and “Refugees Welcome.”
Eight people spoke at the rally, which lasted two hours long.
A Quinnipiac University poll released March 31 shows that 54 percent of New Yorkers favor Hillary Clinton, compared to 42 percent for Bernie Sanders.
According to Bloomberg Politics, 2,383 Democratic Delegates are needed to win the nomination. Currently, Hillary Clinton is in the lead with 1,712, compared to Sanders, who has 1,011. Sanders has currently won 14 states in the primary, including his home state of Vermont. Clinton has won 18 states, along American Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands. Clinton also won Texas, which is a huge victory for her campaign.
New York has 291 delegates up for grabs in the April 19 primary.
While Clinton and Sanders do have similar policies when it comes to the environment, women’s rights and immigration, there are some notable differences in regards to other key issues. Sanders wants to make all public colleges free by increasing taxes on Wall Street, supports a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour, compared to $12 for Clinton; supports state’s right to legalize marijuana without federal intervention; and wants to replace the Affordable Care Act with a single-payer health care system. Sanders also opposes intervention with ISIS in the Middle East.
Several state lawmakers have endorsed Sanders, including James Sanders, Jr., D-Queens, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, D-Bronx and Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Loudonville, who was at the rally.
Albany County Legislator Sam Fein said Bernie “isn’t your typical politician.”
“Bernie Sanders takes on the corporations and big donors, he’s not scared to stand up to them and he’s not bought by them. He does what’s right, he speaks the truth,” Fein said.
Aside from Sanders’ economic policies, supporters say they like his non-interventionist foreign policy, his plans to assist veterans and his dedication to social justice.
“People will pretend that Bernie is an ideologue, to the contrary, he has a consistent record of over three decades of service to the world,” said Albany County Legislator Merton Simpson.
He added, “When Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater girl, Bernie Sanders was being arrested for [protesting] segregation in Chicago. We need to rekindle the spirit. The problem we have now is that the establishment is trying to hide Bernie’s message.”