In Carson, Bernie battles for California
Sanders supporters started wrapping themselves around the stadium in a rough single-file line hours before the event started at 8 p.m. in order to secure their seats. Conversation focused on their admiration for Sanders rang out from the line, which was made up of mostly youthful, hopeful, and often, fashionable folks.
Jake Sandell, a Bernie fan from Oxnard, spoke about why he supported Sanders saying,"I think Bernie talks more about the relevant issues that are actually facing the people of this country."
— Chris Monterrosa (@chrismatography) May 18, 2016
Numerous volunteers were also in attendance, doing everything they could to raise awareness of their cause and get as many people as possible registered before the deadline to register for the primary vote on May 23.
Vendors were scattered around selling Sanders merchandise. Heaps of people were passing around brightly colored markers and white posters to make supportive signs; one of the most popular was a large poster with a head sized cutout complete with glasses and framed with Sanders' trademark messy hair for an individual to hold over their own face with “We are Bernie" written underneath it.
One drummer brought an entire kit, set it up and played a jazz ensemble for those waiting in line:
— September Dawn Botto (@septemberdawnbo) May 17, 2016
Inside of the Stubhub Center, several celebrities such as Danny Glover and Kendrick Sampson spoke at the event to endorse Sanders before he made his appearance. They urged the crowd of 8,000 strong to take action and vote for Sanders.
Glover spoke positively about Sanders' time as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and to an uproarious crowd, Sampson spoke of Sanders' proposals to challenge environmental fracking, tackle income inequality, and to tell the truth once in office. Sampson said, “I can’t wait to put this revolutionary, truth-telling activist in the White House.”
Sampson, along with fellow actors Charlie and Max Carver, had appeared on SMC's campus earlier in the day for a "Rock the Campus for Bernie" event hosted by the Bernie Sanders Club. The club's president, and former candidate for the Student Trustee position in this semester's AS Elections, Alfredo Gama, returned the favor and showed up in Carson to support his favored candidate:
— September Dawn Botto (@septemberdawnbo) May 18, 2016
With Clinton currently leading in both pledged and super delegates for the democratic nomination, many attendees that spoke to The Corsair acknowledged that the national conversation about Sanders' candidacy had changed from "can he do it?" to "why is he still running?"
Marc Haworth, a Sanders supporter who lined up hours before the rally, said his confidence in Bernie pulling off a comeback was low, but that this didn't matter. He said, "[Sanders has] a 40/60 [chance] of making it. But that doesn’t matter. If he doesn’t get in this time, it gives him four more years to get in next time.”
Should things work out for Sanders, Sarah O’Connell, an audience member at the rally, said, “It’s questionable if things will work out the way they’re supposed to work out, but I believe as far as presidential candidates go, he’s the one who sticks to his guns on things and has proven to be honest and true to the things he has said.”
After the introductions, Sanders took to the stage as the crowd chanted his name and shouts of "we love you Bernie" echoed.
Sanders opened his remarks by saying it was his campaign's final push to win California, and continued on to attack Democratic Party leaders, saying that they were the same organization that twice elected Bill Clinton and supported Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful 2008 campaign against Barack Obama. With the crowd booing the Clinton name, Sanders said, “ A lot has changed. We have won 19 state primaries and caucuses and have 9 million votes. No one can predict the future, but I think we can win a number of the upcoming primaries... Don’t tell Hillary, but I think we’re going to win here in California."
Sanders spoke about his recent primary victory in Oregon before delving into his stump speech focused on income inequality. His supporters cheered loudly as he promised them that he was going to take on Wall Street and corporate greed. About the many doubts that have been surrounding his campaign as of late, Sanders said,"There are a lot of people out there, many of the pundits and politicians that say Bernie Sanders should drop out, the people of California should not have the right to determine who the next president will be. Well let me be as clear as I can be, I agree with you. We are in the last battle.”
The "last battle" Sanders referred to was the final round of primary voting to take place over the next few weeks. If Sanders can win a large majority of delegates, including those in California, he would be able to deny Clinton's clinch of the nomination prior to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this upcoming July.
Sanders left after mingling with supporters, shaking hands and posing for photos. As the night ended, his attending supporters stayed high in spirits and showed little break in their resolve to support Sanders until the end of the line. While it's nearly impossible mathematically for Sanders to win at this point in the primary campaign, Tuesday's rally made it clear that with the strong support from his fans, he won't give up until every battle is fought.