Las Vegas Sun

August 25, 2019

Currently: 84° — Complete forecast

Bernie Sanders tells Nevada audience, ‘We are going to bring our people together’

Bernie Sanders Rally

Miranda Alam / Special to the Sun

Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally in Henderson on Saturday, March 16, 2019.

Bernie Sanders Rally in Las Vegas area

Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders meets with attendees during a rally in Henderson, Nev. on Saturday, March 16, 2019. Miranda Alam/Special to the Sun Launch slideshow »

Progressive proposals now popular with Democrats were mostly shun when Bernie Sanders touted them during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The establishment deemed his platform — that included raising the minimum wage, expanding healthcare coverage to all and investing in infrastructure — “too radical,”the Vermont senator said Saturday afternoon in Henderson during an outdoor rally.

“Those ideas that we talked about four years ago that seemed so very radical at that time,” Sanders said. “Today, virtually all of those ideas are supported by a majority of the American people and have overwhelming support from Democrats and independents,” he added, likely taking a shot at the expanding Democratic field of candidates vying for the presidency.

Hundreds of festive Sanders’s supporters showed up Saturday afternoon to Morrell Park in the far southeast valley for an intimate-feeling, but packed “political revolution.”

Before Sanders took to the lectern for his 45-minute speech, supporters made their way to the park, wearing clothes with the candidate’s face, and shading the sun with their blue “Bernie” signs.

A staffer with his campaign jived to music, giving high fives to attendees. Aside from agitators yelling into a bullhorn or purposely revving motorcycle engines to interrupt, attendees were mostly smiles.

Friends Andy Houston and Jill Glass wore matching Sanders red, white and blue shirts with a “Feel the Bern 2020” design. Houston supported Sanders in 2016 when his bid to the White House ended with Hillary Clinton becoming the Democratic presidential nominee.

Houston, 41, said Sanders is a “man of character. I think he’s a man for the people, I think he has a lot of class and he has some great ideas,” the Las Vegas resident said.

Politics and the media have “burned Glass out “a little,” the 39-year-old said, noting she wanted to listen to Sanders to lift up her spirits. “I’m here to support him and applaud him. I’m hoping that he’ll just give us an uplifting message and get us all back excited about politics.”

Alexis Salt, a Clark County School District teacher, took the stage first, and spoke the future of younger Americans.

“There’s so much more that unites us than divides us, but i’m not here to talk about what adults want,” she said.

She said she promised her kids she would talk about them. Their future is more than standardized tests and needing fundraisers to pay for health insurance, she said.

Amy Vilela gave an impassioned speech about her daughter, who she said she lost to the “nation’s barbaric healthcare system” four years ago when she had a curable condition but her “fate was sealed when they asked her if she had health insurance.”

“On issue after issue, Bernie is not just leading, he’s changing the turn of the debate.” said Nina Turner, national co-chair of the political campaign. “Sisters and brothers, if we come together for the political revolution and do the impossible, Bernie Sanders will win the Nevada caucus,” she concluded to an erupting crowd.

Then Sanders, who wore a Vegas Golden Knights cap, took to the stage to speak about his widely reported vision, which includes “aggressively” combating climate change, healthcare for all, a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free higher education, increasing social security benefits, and

criminal justice and immigration reforms.

Under Sanders’s proposals, he said, the 1.8 million immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals would gain legal status. A “humane border policy” would be in place for those seeking asylum, he said.

“No more snatching babies from the arms of their mothers,” he said.

He also attacked President Donald Trump, saying the president “wants to divide us up by the color of our skin, our country of origin, our gender, our religion and our sexual orientation. We are going to do exactly the opposite. We are going to bring our people together.”

His campaign, Sanders said, will be driven by an unprecedented grassroots effort.