An estimated 15,000 people gathered in and around Safeco Field in Seattle on Friday, March 25 to show their support for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The rally was the last time Democratic voters would hear from the senator before caucusing on Saturday, March 26.
Among the crowd were union members, minority voters and millennials. Western Senior Dallas Roberts, president of the WWU for Bernie club, was one of those who spoke at the event.
Sanders outlined his plans for presidency at the event, which included reforming the criminal justice system, equal pay, eliminating student debt and building the economy through the middle class.
“I think his authenticity really stands out to us [young people]. I think we are used to a lot of politicians lying to us and falling back on the promises they make,” Roberts said.
The WWU for Bernie club joined the national campaign about three weeks ago, Roberts said. Through working with the student outreach coordinator and the field organizers for the national campaign, Roberts was chosen to speak on behalf of students of Washington at Friday’s rally.
“I ended up getting a call Tuesday night telling me to prepare a speech for Friday night because I was going to be speaking at the rally,” Roberts said.
While Safeco was packed with supporters, Roberts said he felt at ease knowing that everyone was happy to be there.
As Roberts made his way to the stage, he said the crowd seemed to be excited, loving and “full of positive vibes.”
After giving his speech, Roberts was thanked by the senator. “I kind of had tears in my eyes. It was unbelievable to know that he had said my name in front of the crowd,” Roberts said.
Before the speech, 12 volunteers from throughout the state had the opportunity to meet with Sanders, said Conner Koreis, another WWU for Bernie member. Sanders reminded the volunteers that the campaign wasn’t just about him; it was about the future of America.
The small group of volunteers was chosen by the campaign staff based on their hard work and how they had been contributing to the cause, Koreis said.
Roberts was especially drawn to the candidate because of Sanders’ small donor campaign style. “I think it is a big thing to get money out of politics,” Roberts said.
Sanders’ campaign donations average of about $27 a person, Koreis said.For comparison, opponent Hillary Clinton brings in about $144 from each donation, according to The Guardian.
“It is just people like you and me who are funding his campaign,” Koreis said.
It is Sanders’ consistent track record and opposition to big money in politics that young people find so appealing, and voters see him as a trustworthy candidate, Koreis said.
Climate change, renewable energy, foreign policy and public higher education are some of the other issues Roberts said Sanders has the best policies on.
Sanders’ won the Democratic caucus in Washington on Saturday, along with the caucuses in Alaska and Hawaii. “It isn’t over. The political revolution goes on,” Roberts said.
There is still a list of states Sanders will need in order to have a shot at the White House, Roberts said. As for WWU for Bernie, club members will be on the phone banks at least once a week in the hopes of pushing the campaign forward, Roberts said.
The next month or two will prove whether or not the senator has a real shot at the nomination, Koreis said.
“We need to make sure the momentum stays in our favor,” Roberts said.