By Ivan Cazares and Megan G. Razzetti
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders emphasized the importance of the California primary, while addressing supporters at Lincoln Park Monday.
“Progressives and Democrats win when people are energized, and are prepared to stand up and fight,” Sanders said.
He also said his campaign has energy and enthusiasm, which will result in a large voter turnout on June 7.
According to recent polls, the Senator from Vermont is behind Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton in delegate support, which makes California’s 475 democratic delegates vital to his campaign.
During Sanders’ speech, which lasted close to 40 minutes, he addressed what his campaign represents and how government fails to represent citizens.
“What this campaign is about is fundamentally changing national priorities, and changing the way our government works and the way our economy works,” Sanders said.
“It is not acceptable to me, nor I think to you, that we have a government in Washington today more concerned about representing wealthy campaign contributors than the needs of ordinary Americans,” Sanders said.
Sanders also talked about immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage and creating universal healthcare.
When attendees were let in at 9 a.m., some stayed close to the entrance, holding signs and cheering people on as they made their way to the baseball diamond where the stage was set.
“He’s really tackling issues that affect our families and people that live in these communities, (the East Los Angeles area),” Adriana Flores, an ELAC alum said.
Flores transferred to California State University, Northridge from East Los Angeles College.
Flores, along with bandmate Bryan Ponce, performed with their band, The Altons, at the rally before speakers took the stage.
Ponce explained that Sanders appeals to him because the candidate is talking about issues he learns about in school.
Ponce and Flores spoke on how people should stop conforming and start being more involved in the political process. Both are psychology majors.
Flores transferred to California State University from East Los Angeles College.
Among Sanders’ supporters was Jesus Chuy Garcia, who recently ran for Mayor of Chicago. Garcia lost the election to Rahm Emanuel, however, he gained a lot of support including the support of Sanders.
ELAC student Claudia Blauser-Sanchez, a volunteer for Unidos de Bernie, and her son Elias Powell, spoke first at the rally about why she supports Sanders.
After the rally, Sanchez explained that this was the first time she has been active in volunteering for a presidential candidate. She also said that she has been listening to Sanders and following his career for the last three years.
“I was always into politics, but when he announced he was running for the presidency, I was all in,” Sanchez said.
Sanders has publicly criticized the electoral system and said he would change the way campaigns are funded if elected president.
Sanders said his campaign has been funded through small donations, with the average contribution of $27.
“We believe in an old-fashioned concept called democracy. One person, one vote,” Sanders said. He called ‘Citizens United’ a “disastrous” decision. ‘Citizens United’ is a supreme court ruling passed in 2010 that allows corporations to invest unlimited amounts of money on campaigns. He said it was unacceptable that “billionaires are buying elections.”
Sanders has also said he would work toward providing students with free college and improving the education system.
Sanders’ critics have called his policies on education and health-care expensive and unsustainable. In an interview on the Today Show, Clinton questioned Sanders’ knowledge on issues central to his campaign.