“Let the great state of California help me lead America into the political revolution,” said Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at his campaign stop in Sacramento Monday.
Sanders spoke on income inequality, free education and student debt, universal health care, the importance of the California primary and more to a crowd of 15,000 during his “A Future to Believe In” rally at Bonney Field in Cal Expo during his hour-long speech.
Sanders supporters waited in line for hours to see their favorite candidate speak.
Rose Raiser Jeavons, who was the first person in line, said she drove from Willits, California and thought she was in the wrong place when she arrived because the parking lot was empty.
“We got up at four, left our house at five and got here at eight,” said Jeavons of arriving at the location.
Attendees brought and made signs with slogans like “the revolution won’t be televised” and “welcome to NorCal Bernie” written across them.
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After the rally, American River College student Brenda Casas called the event “amazing.”
“I was very mindblown by the powerful speech Bernie gave, and how powerful the movement he’s leading (is),” said Casas.
Before Sanders’s speech, attendees heard music from local band Love Defenders and musicians Lauren Wakefield, Jonah Matranga and Joe Kye.
Former Sacramento Central Labor Council leader Bill Camp spoke after the musicians.
“You’re making trouble because you’re leaders,” said Camp while speaking about the place of young people in Sanders’s vision for America.
Following Camp was actor Danny Glover, who introduced Sanders before his speech.
“You are part of a man, and a movement, that depends on one thing: honesty,” said Glover in his introduction. Following Glover’s speech, Sanders emerged to uproarious cheers from the crowd.
Sanders introduced the most well-known issues in his speech before briefly speaking on his more niche interests, like the “destabilization of the Middle East” and his opposition to the war in Iraq.
Sanders’s speech was punctuated by cheers and chants of “feel the Bern,” as well as loud booing when Sanders brought up the positions of his opponents.
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Sanders first spoke about the funding of his campaign, which is almost entirely paid for by individual contributions.
“Our current campaign finance system is corrupt and it is undermining our democracy,” said Sanders. “Democracy is one person, one vote. It is not about Wall Street and their Super PACs buying elections.”
Sanders spoke on income inequality for 10 minutes.
“The truth is that we have a rigged economy,” Sanders said. “Today in America … We have more income and wealth inequality than any other country on earth.
“Today in America, the top one 10th of one percent own almost as much as wealth as the bottom ninety percent.”
Sanders then addressed a key issue of his campaign ‒ free education and student debt.
Sanders said that because of changes to the world, the economy and education, American culture needs to shift to accommodate new educational funding.
Due to the widespread belief that the bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma, Sanders said universities should be considered to be included with primary education.
Sanders also assured the crowd that his campaign stands with minorities in Sacramento and America.
Sanders said his campaign was listening to “our brothers and sisters” in the Latino, African American and Native American communities.
“How does it happen that we have millions of dollars to spend on a war in Iraq that shouldn’t have happened, while inner cities are crumbling?
“We’re not going to rebuild infrastructure in Iraq, we’re going to rebuild inner cities across America.”
Sanders then switched gears to speak on universal health care, an issue which brought representatives from the California Nurses Association and the National Nurses United to the rally.
“Let me say something I have been criticized for many times. … I’ll say it again … in my heart of hearts I believe healthcare is a right of all people,” said Sanders, causing the crowd to erupt into a chant of “feel the Bern.”
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Sanders also tackled speaking about his opponents, focusing on the candidacy of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. Bernie stressed that the California primary is “incredibly important” to the campaign, and said that with a high voter turnout, he could “win big.”
Sanders said that a big win in California could provide him the delegates he needs to qualify for the nomination, but that he can’t win without support from the people.
“No president, not Bernie Sanders or anyone else, can do it alone,” Sanders said. “The only way we transform this country is when real people across America … stand up and fight for a government that represents all of us.”
Justina Sharp and Jordan Schauberger contributed to this report