This weekend, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who has mobilized huge crowds in progressive cities like Madison, Wisconsin and Portland, Maine, took his campaign to unexpected territory, plunging deep into red states dominated by the Republican Party.
Sanders’ speech in Phoenix on Saturday night brought together an estimated eleven to twelve thousand people – one of the largest political rallies in the city’s history (by comparison Barack Obama got 13,000 in January 2008). The crowd gave Sanders standing ovations at numerous points, such as when he condemned police violence, called for tuition-free college, and demanded that American provide for the veterans of its wars. It’s worth noting that, in contrast to Donald Trump’s homogeneous audience, Sanders’ crowd was extremely diverse; there was heavy representation of young Latinos, with one activist introducing the Senator before his speech.
Bernie is campaigning across the Southwest to he show has broader appeal than just the safe blue-state regions of the country. It is an echo of the swing through the South that Sanders did in 2013, when he was still considering his candidacy. “I really strongly disagree with this concept that there’s a blue state and red state America,” he told In These Times in an interview that year. “I believe that in every state in the country the vast majority of the people are working people. These are people who are struggling to keep their heads above water economically, these are people who want Social Security defended, they want to raise the minimum wage, they want changes in our trade policy. And to basically concede significant parts of America, including the South, to the right-wing is to me not only stupid politics, but even worse than that—you just do not turn your backs on millions and millions of working people.”
Read more: alternet.org