By Trevor Bexon | Additional Reporting by Don Dike-Anukam
Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders walked voters to the polls during the last day of early caucus voting on Wednesday, Feb. 18 in Reno.
The senator spoke to a crowd of 750 at a lunchtime rally discussing the many campaign themes and issues that have become common at Bernie Sanders events.
Local band The Dead Winter Carpenters played on stage while attendees arrived and Reno City Councilmember Jenny Brekhus introduced Sanders.
The event at the University of Nevada, Reno campus came one day prior to the Nevada debate in Las Vegas where former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will make his first appearance of the campaign season.
A working class campaign
Directly referencing Bloomberg, Sanders said, “As someone who grew up in a working-class family, I am proud to tell that our campaign is the campaign of the working class, by the working class, and for the working class. We are going to win this election, not because we are buying the airwaves as Mr. Bloomberg is. We are going to win this election because we are putting together the strongest grassroots movement this country has ever seen.”
Senator Sanders referenced the campaign milestone of receiving more individual contributions than any other candidate in presidential campaign history, with each donation averaging $18.50.
Bloomberg wasn’t the only name that Sanders referenced during his speech.
No one is above the law, not even the President of the United States.”
“We have a president who not only is a pathological liar, but he is running a corrupt administration. He apparently has not read the Constitution of the United States and is undermining American democracy.
“He is a bully. He is a vindictive person. He thinks he is above the law. We have news for Mr. Trump, no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States.”
Feeling the Bern, mostly
Sanders touched on many issues that have become well known throughout his campaign in both 2016 and this current election, such as raising the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, rebuilding infrastructure, combatting climate change, canceling student debt with the help of a modest tax on Wall Street speculation, and healthcare for all.
“500,000 Americans go bankrupt because of medical debt they can’t pay. What kind of healthcare system is this that bankrupts people that are struggling with cancer and other diseases? That is unacceptable. We are going to change that. Whether the drug companies or health insurance companies like it or not, the time is long overdue for this country to move to a Medicare for all, single-payer program.”
Not everyone in attendance was voting for Sanders as their first choice.
Thus concludes my @ThisIsReno report from @unevadareno #lawlorEventsCenter at the #BernieSanders #BernieSanders2020 #Bernie2020 #EarlyVoting rally pic.twitter.com/aWxh8lgCgs— dondikeanukam (@dondikeanukam) February 19, 2020
Seth Freedman-Peel of Reno said, “I’m voting for Warren as the first choice, then Bernie, followed by Buttigieg. This rally has motivated me to go vote right now though!”
In preparation for the walk across UNR’s campus to the student union polls for early voting, Sanders referenced Nelson Mandela walking people to the polls in South Africa’s fight for freedom and civil rights. He ended the speech with, “Let’s go change America,” while the music started up again, appropriately playing the Doobie Brothers’, “Takin’ it to the Streets.”
This Is Reno’s, Don Dike-Anukam, spoke to a group of 10 UNR students that had just attended the rally and walked to the polls with Bernie. “We are upset we didn’t get to take a photo with him, but we are still voting for him!” When asked if the rally and walk motivated them to early vote the resounding response was, “yes,” and that they were, “feeling the Bern.”
Protest disrupts Carson City event
Sanders was also in northern Nevada to kick off early caucus voting, speaking to a crowd in Carson City last Sunday. After an introduction by New York city mayor and former presidential candidate Bill de Blasio, Sanders came on stage only to have the microphone yanked from his hand.
“I’m your biggest supporter I’m here to ask you to please stop supporting/propping up the dairy industry,” interrupted a woman affiliated with Direct Action Everywhere, an animal rights protest movement that is known for its disruptive tactics.
Members of the group unfurled a banner behind the Senator that read “Let Dairy Die” before being escorted out of the gymnasium. Meanwhile three female protesters took off their tops to show messages of protest written across their torsos. One topless protester poured what can only be described as fake bloody milk out of a milk carton and onto herself.
Three were arrested by Carson County Sheriffs deputies, charged with indecent exposure and held on $2,500 bail.
Check out the gallery below for photos from Tuesday’s rally at UNR.