In Boston, Sen. Bernie Sanders calls for ‘political revolution’ — Gallery
By Samantha-Rae Tuthill | October 5, 2015, 11:27 EST
BOSTON — Referring to his run for presidency as a “political revolution,” 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) addressed a crowd of more than 20,000 supporters on Saturday at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
“The media always seems to be asking me, ‘How does it happen that all over the country, people are coming out and demanding fundamental change in business in America?’” the Senator told supporters who had waited in a line that extended more than a quarter mile around the building to see the liberal senator speak.
Sanders’ insurgent campaign has made waves by offering an alternative to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton that now seems more viable than many expected. Though national polls still put Clinton ahead, the new Real Clear Politics average has Sanders beating Clinton by more than 11 percentage points in New Hampshire, and last week, the Sanders campaign reported a third-quarter fundraising total of $26 million dollars, just $2 million less than Clinton, the Democratic front-runner.
Sanders told the crowd in Boston that more than 650,000 Americans have donated to his campaign, with an average donation of just $30 a person.
“Ninety-nine percent of contributions have been $100 or less,” he told the cheering crowd.
Sanders passionately proclaimed that he “doesn’t have a super PAC, doesn’t want a super PAC, and doesn’t need a super PAC.”
“I do not represent the agenda of the billionaire or corporate class of America,” he said. “I don’t want their money.”
Grassroots politics have been the hallmark of the Sanders campaign.
Over the course of his 90-minute presentation, during which the crowd erupted into cheers at nearly every pause, the self-proclaimed Democratic socialist lambasted income inequality in America, called for a $15 per hour federal minimum wage and free public college education funded by tax increases.
Sanders, who has been a consistent critic of the role of money in American politics, told the crowd that as president he will only appoint Supreme Court Justices who promise to overturn Citizens United. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government limitations on corporate, union, and nonprofit donations to political campaigns violate the First Amendment.
“I am a passionate believer in democracy, and I’ll be damned if I let corporations and the Supreme Court take democracy away from us,” Sanders said to more great applause.
Frustration with the political status quo has fueled insurgent candidacies on both sides of the aisle, with outsiders Donald Trump and Ben Carson leading polls on the Republican side.
“I come from a politically involved family,” said onlooker Hannah Katz. “I’m trying to be more involved, and [Sanders] is the first candidate I’m really excited about.”
Katz, who invited her parents to attend the rally with her, said that Sanders’ platform “just made sense” to her.
“I don’t know why there are people who don’t agree with him,” she said. “He’s for everyone.”
Katz’s father, David, said that the Sanders campaign reminded him of Eugene McCarthy’s run in 1968. David Katz was in high school at the time, and said that it was the first time he became interested in politics.
“[Sanders] is an underdog with grassroots support,” he said. “I’m interested to see how far he can go.”
Boston college students Connor Baker and Carline Reynolds echoed this theme.
“I like that it’s so grassroots,” Baker said. “All the money is coming from his supporters and not corporations, like Clinton. He’s running on his beliefs.”
Added Reynolds: “It’s really exciting, history is obviously forming here. It’s really cool to be part of that.”
Sanders made an emotional plea to the crowd to keep up the momentum and their involvement, telling supporters that no president can enact meaningful change alone.
“Don’t just help me win the Massachusetts primary,” he said. “Help the day after we win the White House. If we stand together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish, and that is exactly what this campaign is about.”