October 20, 2019
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders held a campaign rally Saturday in the park beneath the 59th Street Bridge. Ending speculation that he’d abandon his quest for the nomination following a recent heart attack, Sanders told a crowd of 20,000 plus that he was “more than ready” to take on President Donald Trump. “To put it bluntly, ” he announced, “I’m back.”
“To put it bluntly, I’m back.”
The crowd responded to that assurance enthusiastically, sending up a cheer of “Ber-nie! Ber-nie!” that the candidate’s big smile showed he appreciated. In addition to reassuring voters he would not be quitting the race, he had several endorsements to collect. The biggest one came from U.S Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14). The first term Congresswoman has made a splash in D.C. along with her progressive House colleagues Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan AKA The Squad. The quartet is frequently targeted for verbal abuse by the President and consequently their reputations have soared on the Left.
In addition to AOC, filmmaker Michael Moore, recent Queens DA candidate Tiffany Cabán, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, NY State Senators Julia Salazar and Michael Gianaris, all took to the stage in support of Sanders run. Moore debunked the ‘he can’t win’ trope objectively, cataloging Sanders’ 2016 wins: 10 of the 11 states that border Canada (“…the one he lost? Sadly, you’re standing in it.“). Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and West Virginia. Every county in West Virginia.
He told an amusing story about Sanders trying to get some celebrities for his very first Congressional campaign rally long ago. All he could get were two guys from Vermont that make ice cream and one guy from Michigan who eats ice cream.
On Sanders’ health, “the only heart attack we should be talking about is the one Wall Street’s gonna have when Bernie wins.” Said he asked Sanders what’s a Democratic Socialist and he replied, “simple. It’s what the Democratic Party used to be.”
Guy from Michigan who eats ice cream.
Campaign Co-Chair Nina Turner said, “there are many copies but only one original: Ber-Nard Sanders. Why you want a copy when you can have an original? There’s only one!” She objected to debate mods asking only Sanders about his health. “My Mom passed at 45. Ask them all about their health if you’re gonna ask Bernie.”
“Come on, somebody.”
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said she wasn’t always a Bernie fan (scattered boos) but after Maria, “Bernie came down and stood with us and helped us. No cameras, no fanfare. Trump said help was slow because Puerto Rico’s an island surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water. He really said that!“
“Big water. Ocean water.”
Tiffany Cabán said she never dreamed she could run for and almost win Queens DA, but seeing AOC win inspired her to run “because she showed me that a working class woman could run in our boro and win.”
AOC showed it can be done.
AOC in turn credited Sanders for inspiring her to run for Congress. This year we have the best Democratic (Presidential) field ever, she said. “That’s thanks to Bernie Sanders.” She said her Mom was from PR and her Dad from the Bronx “when it was burning down – because landlords thought the fire insurance was worth more than the people living in their buildings.” Said she went to a Catholic girls HS across the river and it felt like going to another planet. She saw that “when well off white neighborhoods have a problem they get resources. When poor neighborhoods have a problem they get more cops.”
“Like another planet”
At last the ‘original’ Sanders his supporters know and love appeared. The smile went missing. Flinty, cantankerous, outraged about economic injustice and fired up to lead a political revolution that’ll deliver M4A, free public college tuition, and living wages. It was classic 2016 Bernie throwing down the gauntlet to the millionaires and billionaires. And then, seemingly recognizing that the inevitability of a more just society might not be obvious to this crowd, he quoted Nelson Mandela. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Twenty thousand heads nodded in agreement.