On Tuesday, Bernie Sanders spoke to a packed Rec Hall about his campaign for the presidency, one week out from the Pennsylvania primaries.
The Vermont senator greeted a roaring crowd from every demographic that had begun waiting in line for the rally as early as 11 a.m. Rec Hall was nearly at capacity with hundreds of rally-goers crowded on the floor around the makeshift stage and thousands up in the stands.
Sanders began his speech stating that Penn State looked ready for a political revolution, driving the crowd wild. The optimism towards his campaign being attributed to the many supporters, like those in the room. Sanders said his campaign was one that “has the energy and enthusiasm” to bring out voters to this years election.
This optimism carried through to his prediction for how the New York primaries would turn out later that night, saying that Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was starting to get nervous. “We’re going to do just fine in New York tonight,” says Sanders. Later in the evening however, Clinton would in fact, win the democratic vote for New York.
Sanders’ positivity did not stop with his campaign, but for the regeneration of democracy that can come to America with his win. A major theme for his speech as well as his campaign being the resurgence of voter turn out, including the youth vote. Sanders spent a majority of his speech appealing to his millennial supporters by supporting things such as free higher education, healthcare available to all citizens, and decriminalization of marijuana. “They understand they are the future of this country,” he says.
“We should be rewarding people for getting an education, not punishing them,” Sanders says in a jab at the current state of student loan debt in this country. The audience response was ground shaking in the middle of Penn State’s campus.
Sanders also clarified once more that he was the only candidate in the running that did not take support or cater to the billionaires of America. He then called Clinton out for her campaign funds from Wall Street and Super PACT financial support, something that Sanders believes he can have a successful campaign without.
“The business model for these major institutions is fraud,” says Sanders with the disdain towards the Wall Street billionaires and the elitist of America being made loud and clear. This is what Sanders thinks sets himself apart from the other candidates, by constantly airing on the side of the average American and working to support their needs over big business.
Sanders also worked to appeal to the minorities and women in the crowd by discussing his plans for local police department reform, extensive legal immigration reform along with established citizenship, enhanced relations with Native American communities, and closing the wage gap once and for all. “Women in this country want the whole damn dollar!” says Sanders in reference to the current average rate of $.79 earned by women to every $1 earned by men.
Sanders spoke on many platforms that he intends to work on if elected president, but he stated that, “The major crises we face are not the crises themselves, but that we can’t make change.” He continued in saying that no president alone can change the things that need fixing by themselves, but require the support and power of all American citizens, even those who have given up on the political process.
In an attempt to spark a final bit of political revolution, Sanders says, “This campaign is about transforming national priorities, not accepting the status quo of today.” And the crowd cheered with him, “Enough is enough!”