MANCHESTER, N.H. — Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) decided to hold his New Hampshire rally at the Palace Theatre for a reason: It’s a venue dedicated to the performing arts.
And what Sanders brought to the local Manchester theater on Monday afternoon was a simple, yet well-crafted message full of political entertainment for his supporters.
The various topics he addressed in his stump speech were the same ones that transformed him from the self-proclaimed socialist underdog months ago into Hillary Clinton’s legitimate political contender, who virtually tied with the former Secretary of State in the Iowa caucuses last week.
At the forefront of his message was a reiterated support for comprehensive campaign finance reform. The Vermont senator railed against super PACs and praised the integrity of the fundraising behind his presidential campaign.
“Something happened that I never ever dreamed would have happened,” Sanders said. “We have received more campaign contributions than any other candidate in U.S. history and the average campaign contribution has been $27.”
His call to eradicate the influence of money in Washington, D.C. — and on the campaign trail itself — is one of the major issues that resonated with his New Hampshire supporters.
“Today, money wins politics. No matter how good Bernie is, with enough negative ads, idiots out there are going to vote for morons like Trump,” said 58-year-old Gary, an attendee who declined to give his last name. “Bernie is the only honest politician out there.”
At the foundation of Sanders’ message is a call for revolution, a political one that is powered by the unity of his supporters and representative of all Americans.
“Are you guys ready for a radical idea? Together we are going to create an economy that works for working families, not just for the top 1 percent,” Sanders said, while the crowd erupted in applause before he could even finish his statement.
“The thing about Bernie is that he is very passionate and is very honest about what he talks about,” 30-year-old Ani Kanburryan said. “His time is coming. People are realizing they want a straight shooter.”
Sanders’ ideal revolution is an all-encompassing one that would create a single-payer health care system, increase regulation of Wall Street, make public four-year colleges tuition free and tackle climate change. The Vermont senator’s radical proposals have obtained approval from frustrated voters who feel left out of the American political and economic system.
Inclusiveness is the guiding principle behind Sanders’ message. It was also the fundamental pillar of his rhetoric on Monday night in New Hampshire.
The 74-year-old senator would consistently feed questions to his audience, eager to engage with potential voters and make them “feel the Bern.” At times the event resembled more of a conversation between candidate and voter, rather than a speech.
“Does anyone have student debt here?” Sanders asked the crowd.
Countless hands shot up. Sanders singled out two young college graduates and had them stand up.
“How much?” Sanders asked. One had accumulated $120,000 in debt, the other a whopping $200,000. Sanders expressed sympathy for their financial troubles and went on to outline his plan for student debt refinancing. He did the same when addressing the obscene amounts of health care deductibles his supporters were paying.
His rhetoric encouraged attendees to yell out comments in an attempt to engage with the Democratic presidential candidate.
“They stole the country, those assholes,” screamed someone in the crowd, referring to Wall Street greed.
Sanders — who almost ignored the comment — chuckled and replied, “I wouldn’t phrase it exactly like that, but that is close to the truth.”Comments powered by Disqus
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