WASHINGTON — Bye bye Bernie? Not this week (or last week). Hillary Clinton may be doing great in the polls — in fact, she’s already garnered enough delegates to become the first female Democratic nominee in history — but that hasn’t stopped hundreds of Sanders’ supporters from soaking up some sun, saying that they still “feel the Bern.”
Campaign volunteers and supporters met last Thursday afternoon for an outdoor rally at a skate park near The D.C. Armory — just days before getting ready to vote in Tuesday’s D.C. primaries.
“I hope the next time I’m back, we are talking about the state of Washington D.C.,” Sanders says.
Supporters of all ages waved peace signs, wore hipster clothing and donned colorful dreadlocks, creating a laid-back, flower-power sort of atmosphere that looked like a polaroid-perfect scene from the 60s.
One of the first topics Sanders covered? Millennials.
“When the overwhelming majority of young people support this vision, that will be the future of America,” the Vermont senator says.
Throughout the election, Sanders has received a good portion of his support from Millennials, who seem to be just one of the many priorities for the candidate.
“This is the second time I’ve seen him speak. It was just so much more powerful now that it seems like all hope is lost,” Kris Kolvereid, a student at University of Colorado Boulder says.
Upon hearing Sanders’ speech, the political science student says he felt Sanders sparked “this idea that we at least have the power to change something.”
“Hearing him speak on (women’s rights), raising the minimum wage and decreasing the cost of college, it’s like, finally, we are having some representation for our interests,” Kolvereid says.
Timur Insanally, an international relations student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, agrees and feels that Sanders is pushing the Democratic party in the right direction.
“I feel like we’re being represented in the right way,” Insanally says.
Jake Hannigan, an economics student at Northern Arizona University, says Sanders’ rally was incredible because Sanders “really speaks about (issues) people really want to hear.”
While some say current Sanders supporters should consider migrating to a new candidate, Hannigan says he isn’t quite ready to make that change, believing “it would be hypocritical” because “you would be voting for something you’ve been against for so long.”
But Kylie Tumiatti, an international relations student at Seton Hill University, says she would consider voting for Clinton if faced with a Trump v. Clinton decision.
“I’m kind of anything that’s not Trump,” Tumiatti says. “It honestly depends how these last primaries go.”
Speaking on public education, Sanders addressed the crowd, saying that the term should include college and not exclusively refer to “K-12.”
Instead of “punishing people” who want to get an education, Sanders wants to do just the opposite by offering free tuition.
“The young people are determined to shape the future of America,” Sanders says.
“I want our young people in schools, not rotting in jail cells,” he says. “We have got to talk about public education and think about college.”
As far as mandatory sentencing and drug abuse is concerned, the Democratic candidate believes we must seek better options for treatment.
“It’s time for us to take a look at the war on drugs,” Sanders says. “We have an epidemic of opioid and heroin addiction.”
Sanders says drugs are not a criminal issue, but a health issue and should be treated as such.
He also spoke on women’s rights, law enforcement limitations and undocumented immigration.
“Eleven million undocumented living in this country . . . they have no legal rights and that has got to change,” Sanders says.
Although the middle class is shrinking, Sanders says he wants to change that, adding that a waning middle class “is not what this country is about.”
And he believes the gender wage gap is truly just “old-fashioned sexism.”
“One-hundred years ago today women in America did not have the chance to vote. Women stood up and fought back,” Sanders says.
Sanders’ wife then accompanied him on stage and — although he waved farewell to the crowd — it looks like Sanders is not saying goodbye to voters just yet.