Just hours after President Donald Trump riled up his crowd at the Las Vegas Convention Center, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) rallied his crowd of 2,020 supporters at Springs Preserve, just a few miles away. At his rally, Sanders voiced optimism on his impending Nevada Democratic Caucus performance and America’s post-Trump future.
On that future, Sanders told the crowd, “We are putting together a multi-generational and multi-racial movement of millions! […] When we stand together, they ain’t going to stop us!”
“We need an economy and a government that works for all of us, not just the 1%. I believe in democracy: one person, one vote. I do not believe in oligarchy where billionaires buy votes.”
– Bernie Sanders
As I noted yesterday, Bernie Sanders appears to be the clear favorite going into tomorrow’s final round of the Nevada Democratic Caucus. And as I and others have been noting this week, the hot competition now appears to be among former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), former South Bend (Indiana) Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and maybe Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer for second and third place showings that might keep their respective campaigns alive in South Carolina and the later states.
Speaking to a packed lawn at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas, Sanders couldn’t provide a clearer contrast to President Donald Trump, who spoke just a few miles from here earlier today. Whereas Trump boasted of his wealth and power, Sanders proclaimed, “We need an economy and a government that works for all of us, not just the 1%. I believe in democracy: one person, one vote. I do not believe in oligarchy where billionaires buy votes.”
Later on, Sanders exclaimed, “As a matter of fact, we are taking on the whole damned 1%. We are taking on Donald Trump and the Republican establishment. And we are taking on the Democratic establishment!” Indeed, Sanders didn’t contain his criticism of oligarchy to Trump.
“Our campaign is proudly funded by the working class in this country. We are the campaign of the working class, by the working class, and for the working class.”
– Bernie Sanders
On Thursday, Elizabeth Warren continued her evisceration of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign that began at Wednesday’s MSNBC/Nevada Independent Debate. At her campaign office in North Las Vegas, Warren told reporters, “Mayor Bloomberg thinks he can buy this election. He’s dumped $400 million into it so far and skipped the democracy part of it, shaking hands, meeting people, and learning about their issues.”
At his rally at Springs Preserve, Sanders made his own case against Bloomberg: “Michael Bloomberg certainly has the right to run for office. He does not have the right to buy his way into office!” He continued, “What the American people want is to end this status quo of billionaires controlling the process.”
And he didn’t stop there. While Sanders didn’t name Buttigieg, Klobuchar, or Biden, he indicated he doesn’t see them much better than Bloomberg. According to Sanders, “We’re going to win this election because we don’t need a Super PAC. We don’t go to billionaires’ homes to raise money. We have raised more money in campaign contributions from more people than any other campaign in this country.”
Sanders then contrasted his approach to campaigning with theirs: “Our campaign is proudly funded by the working class in this country. We are the campaign of the working class, by the working class, and for the working class. And as the son of the working class, we are going to go forward together.”
“Men in this country have got to stand with the women!”
– Bernie Sanders
As he’s already done at previous rallies, Sanders hit hard on his typical “hot button” issues, like a $15 per hour national minimum wage, “Medicare for All” single-payer health care, and his “Green New Deal” climate action plan. In addition, he addressed the need for racial and economic justice in public education, and he continued to make the case for his newer and more progressive stances on immigrant rights and gun violence prevention.
And perhaps to answer the critics who voiced concern over his commitment to women’s reproductive rights, he said of “limited government” politicians who seek to limit abortion access, “I say to those hypocrites, if you believe in getting the government off the backs of the American people, understand it is the women who have the right to control their bodies, not the American government.” He continued, “Men in this country have got to stand with the women!”
Again, this came hot on the heels of “limited government conservatives” Donald Trump and Mike Pence attacking all the Democratic presidential candidates for voicing support for keeping abortion safe and legal. Of course, this also came after several days’ worth of awkward headlines resulting from a small clique of “BernieBros” attacking the women-majority Culinary Union for criticizing Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposal.
“When you think about it, real change has never taken place from the top down. It has taken place from the bottom up!”
– Bernie Sanders
As Sanders appears to be on the verge of a breakthrough victory here in Nevada, he took a moment to relish his newly minted frontrunner status. On his opponents within the Democratic Party, Sanders chortled, “As you may have noticed lately, the establishment is getting a little bit nervous.”
On the “Never Bernie” forces who are trying to figure out how to stop him from winning the Democratic nomination, Sanders exclaimed, “Oh my goodness, we are putting together a multi-generational and multi-racial movement of millions! They’re getting nervous. But you know what? When we stand together, they ain’t going to stop us!”
And in a closing that felt and sounded like a closing statement from Warren’s speeches on the value of persistence, Sanders offered these words of encouragement: “When you think about it, real change has never taken place from the top down. It has taken place from the bottom up!”
Anyone who’s been following Sanders’ presidential ambitions since the early days of 2014 and 2015 knows that he hasn’t always been on top, and that it hasn’t been an easy journey to the top for him. But now that he appears to be rising to new heights, he’s out to convince us that he remembers where he came from, he remembers those who’ve helped him get this far, and he wants something good to come out of this victory that’s suddenly within reach. Tomorrow, we’ll have a better sense of how many Nevadans he’s convinced of all this.