Bernie Sanders holds rally in Downtown LA two days ahead of Super Tuesday
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders kisses his wife Jane Sanders at a rally in Downtown Los Angeles on Sunday. According to political analytics website FiveThirtyEight, Sanders is the most likely of the primary candidates to receive a majority of delegates. (Jintak Han/DailyBruin senior staff)
By Kate Nucci
March 2, 2020 3:02 a.m.
Rallygoers stood in the Los Angeles Convention Center, fluttering white and blue campaign signs and cheering when the lights intermittently dimmed, as they awaited the arrival of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Actor Dick Van Dyke took the podium to introduce the senator from Vermont, he said, but found out onstage he had not arrived yet.
“I love Bernie Sanders,” Van Dyke said. “I love him. He’s a wonderful man, and he’s taller than I am.”
Arriving around 30 minutes later, Sanders rallied thousands of his supporters – two days before California and 13 other states, along with the American Samoa, choose their Democratic nominee for the 2020 presidential election. The rally included a concert by the hip-hop group Public Enemy Radio.
California’s 495 delegates make it the biggest prize of Super Tuesday. Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be speaking Monday to advocate for janitors’ rights in East Los Angeles. Tom Steyer also had a rally scheduled in LA for Monday but canceled it when he announced Saturday he was dropping out of the presidential race.
Sanders won the popular vote in the first three primary contests of the year, becoming the first candidate of either party to ever do so. Political analytics website FiveThirtyEight currently predicts that he is the most likely of the primary candidates to receive a majority of delegates at the Democratic National Convention taking place in July in Wisconsin.
Despite that, the most likely scenario currently is that no candidate will receive a majority of delegates, according to FiveThirtyEight, which would result in a contested convention.
“We must develop the strongest grassroots political movement in the history of this country,” Sanders said at the rally.
Sanders promised his supporters that his administration would raise the minimum wage, create jobs by rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and revamp the criminal justice system. It would end U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids and pass sweeping gun control legislation, he said.
“The corporate establishment, the political establishment, you are making them really nervous,” Sanders said. “They’re really getting quite upset.”
Sanders promised, to shouts of “Bernie,” that as president he would use an executive order to legalize marijuana in every state.
He also promised to nominate to the federal bench and Supreme Court only judges who support the decision of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that formally legalized abortion.
His campaign, he said, would take on President Donald Trump and win.
“We are going to defeat the most dangerous president in modern American history,” Sanders said.
Other speakers included comedian and actress Sarah Silverman, Bonnie Castillo, the director of the largest national registered nurses’ union, and Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter.
The nursing union endorsed Sanders, Castillo said.
“We have just admitted our first coronavirus patient, and our second,” Castillo said. “It shouldn’t take a global pandemic for us to realize that universal health care is a human right.”
More than 30 students from UCLA spent their morning working for Sanders’ campaign, knocking on doors in Westwood before taking the Metro to the rally, members said. Four also stayed behind after the rally to participate in a training session for student supporters of Sanders.
“I feel like Bernie Sanders rallies are low-key concerts,” said Dylan Portillo, a third-year environmental studies student and leader of Bruins for Bernie, referring to the rally’s several musical performances.
Bernie Sanders’ position on climate change is one of the reasons Regina Zweng, a doctoral student in ecology and environmental biology at UCLA, said she supports his candidacy.
“I see him as the candidate that really understands the scale of what we’re facing right now as a planet,” Zweng said.
Sanders has expressed the same views on the same issues since the 1980s, said David Alvarado, a first-year pre-public affairs student. It means that students can trust him, he said.
“He’s got the receipts for everything,” Alvarado said.
Attending rallies and seeing thousands of people supporting the same cause is energizing, said Henry Burke, a fourth-year political science student.
“I’ve never felt more inspired,” Portillo said. “I’m really looking forward to Tuesday. It’s made all the organizing worth it.”