Bernie Sanders supporters converged on two Bay Area locations Wednesday to listen to the progressive presidential candidate speak about social and environmental justice at “A Future to Believe In” rallies.
The first rally took place in San Jose, and after Sanders made a brief stop in San Francisco, he headed to the North Bay city of Vallejo.
As the sun went down at Vallejo Waterfront Park, Sanders addressed a raucous crowd numbering in the thousands, some of whom waited seven hours to see the Vermont senator. He talked for about an hour about immigration, jobs, education and legalizing marijuana in California.
“To be honest,” he said, “I didn’t know there were this many people in
Sanders spoke with NBC Bay Area before the evening rally and was asked about Donald Trump’s remarks during a New York Times interview, in which he said Oakland is one of the most dangerous cities in the country.
“If I had to keep up with every dumb thing Donald Trump says, that’s all I’d be doing,” Sanders said.
Under the hot sun in San Jose with a banner that read, “A Future to Believe In,” Sanders took to the podium about 1 p.m. at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. He gave a wide-ranging, but not surprising, speech about a “rigged economy” and the fact that the country’s wealthiest profit at the expense of the working and middle class.
“I am sick and tired of seeing poverty all over this country, wherever I go,” Sanders said to whoops and cheers from the crowd, many of whom described themselves as blue collar workers living in the shadow of Silicon Valley’s wealth.
Sanders voiced his support for comprehensive immigration reform — something for which he is prepared to use to the “executive powers of the presidency,” paid family leave, legalizing marijuana, and healthcare for all citizens.
The presidential hopeful also decried tax breaks for billionares and pouring trillions of dollars into wars, and instead promised to funnel the resources into “[rebuilding] communities all over this country.”
“We are going to create affordable housing so people do not use 50 percent or more of their incomes just to have a roof over their heads,” Sanders said in an area where exorbitant living costs are forcing people out of their homes.
Sanders blasted Donald Trump for insulting Mexicans and Latinos, “our Muslim brothers and sisters,” women, veterans and the African-American community.
“I know that a lot of people are worried that Donald Trump will become president — that will not happen!” he stressed. “… Love always trumps hatred.”
Ahead of the rally, two shirtless men with the words “Babe 4 Bern” written in blue paint across their pecs showed up in the heat, flexing their muscles and offering free hugs in support of the progressive candidate. The young friends, all of whom looked to be in high school, jumped up and down on a dirt road shouting, “Bernie! Bernie!”
Tables of “Feel the Bern” T-shirts, pins, hats were on display at the San Jose rally, and the crowds bought them up in droves.