Sanders supporters motivated, optimistic ahead of NY primary

Photo by Michael Vadon
U.S. Senator of Vermont Bernie Sanders in Conway N.H. on August 24, 2015



About 4,000 people showed their support for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at a rally in Albany on Monday. With the primary elections just one week away, Sanders supporters are doing everything they can to succeed in what they are calling “a political revolution.”

The rally was held at the Washington Avenue Armory just blocks from the state Capitol. The line to enter the rally circled around several blocks and more than 2,000 people were denied entry due to the large crowd.

Many are looking at the New York state primary as a make-or-break moment for Sanders. So far, in New York, Sanders has held already held rallies in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Binghamton, Buffalo and is headed to Poughkeepsie and Rochester Tuesday.

The senator spoke for about an hour on a variety of topics. These included his push for a single-payer health care; climate change and the dangers of hydrofracking; higher education; equal pay for women; mass incarceration and privatized prisons; the war on drugs; police brutality; racial issues; raising the minimum wage nationwide to $15 an hour; the influence of corporations on politics; and how the economy is “rigged.”

Sanders told the enthusiastic crowd that, since the 1980’s, there has been “a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the one-tenth of one percent.”

His goal is to create a “moral economy” that focuses more on the people.

“I am going to the Vatican later this week, to discuss creating a moral economy; an economy that addresses human needs, not just the needs of the people on top,” Sanders said.

Sanders made a point to differentiate himself from his opponent Hillary Clinton.

“Secretary Clinton is raising her campaign funds in a very different way,” Sanders said. “She has established a number of Super PACs.”

He added that, “Her largest Super PAC recently reported that it had raised $25 million from special interest organizations, including $15 million from Wall Street.”

Sanders also criticized speeches he says Clinton gave behind closed doors on Wall Street, for $250,000 a speech.

According to a RealClearPolitics poll taken from March 29 to April 10, Clinton is ahead of Sanders in New York 53.6 percent to 39.6 percent.

“This campaign is not getting a lot of support from elected officials. We are taking on the establishment,” Sanders said.

A majority of the rally attendees were younger people.  College students from campuses in Albany and around New York made up a significant portion of the audience.

Sanders was joined by several supporters who also spoke at the rally yesterday. State Assemblyman Phil Steck was there, along with state Sen. Bill Perkins, and Jill Furillo, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association.

Many of the young people at the rally talked about how they feel Bernie Sanders is the only candidate this election who actually cares about the people and doesn’t have ulterior motives. They said they like how his average campaign contribution is just $27 and how he has come so far because of 6 million small, individual donations, as opposed to large donations from corporate-backed special interest groups.

High school and college students at the rally also praised Sanders for his plan to make all public colleges and universities in the U.S. tuition-free by taxing Wall Street speculation. They say he has come up with ideas that no other candidates would even dare to mention.

“The easiest part is to get to the rally, the hard part is getting to the voting booth,” Perkins said, urging progressive voters to get to the polls on primary day. “We’re gonna’ make history.  Right now all we need to do is make sure that the energy that brought us out here today doesn’t end today, this is a movement and we have to keep it moving in order for the movement to make a difference.”