Today Bernie Sanders hosted what is likely his largest rally yet for his 2020 campaign. The rally took place in Los Angeles, California at the Grand Park downtown, across from City Hall. Exactly how many people attended isn’t yet known, but the numbers are significant since the park can hold from 25,000 to 50,000 people, depending on the setup. On top of that, 22,000 RSVP’d on Facebook for Sanders’ event in LA, and crowd size photos show a significant turnout. In fact, so many people showed up that an overflow crowd formed on the steps of City Hall across the street. An early report shared that 15,000 might have been there tonight, but it’s not yet clear if this is accurate or includes overflow crowds. We’ll update this story as more details are known. Here are photos and highlights from his rally today.
Grand Park, operated by the Los Angeles Music Center, is a 12-acre park in the civic center of Los Angeles, California. On December 31, 2013, a New Year’s Eve event at Grand Park was attended by 25,000 people. The sixth annual NYELA at Grand Park drew more than 50,000 people. An LA Times article noted that capacity at Grand Park is 50,000.
Some people are saying the number is at 15,000.
That number originated from Tania Singh, a delegate and California Democratic party member. It’s not clear yet if this number is accurate and Heavy will update the story as we know more.
If the number is 15,000, that would be one of his biggest rallies yet for 2020. His Chicago rally had nearly 12,000 supporters and his Brooklyn rally had at least 13,000 show up. Despite a blizzard, his New Hampshire rally drew thousands too. And his Iowa City rally was so large, he gave a second speech to an overflow area.
Because so many people showed up, an overflow crowd had to fill the steps of City Hall across the street:
Here’s another look at the overflow audience:
Bernie Sanders took a look at the crowd when he started speaking and said, “Woah! In case you didn’t notice, a lot of people are here today! … As I look around this enormous crowd I think not only are we going to win California, we’re going to win the Democratic nomination!”
Here’s another look at the crowd:
When Sanders stepped onto the stage, thousands of people cheered for him.
Even before the event even began, the line wrapped around six blocks, shared u/return2ozma on Reddit.
Sanders promised that his administration would focus on unity, not xenophobia, bigotry, racism, and other issues clouding the administration today. “The principle of our government, what we believe in, will be based on justice: economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice.”
His statement was met with many cheers.
“Now Donald Trump and his friends want to … divide this country up based on the color of our skin, our gender, based on where we were born, based on our religion or our sexual orientation. What this campaign is about, and what our government is about, is exactly the opposite. We are going to bring our people together.”
Sanders then said: “As President of the United States, I will not have kind words to say about authoritarian leaders around the world who espouse bigotry and hatred.”
Sanders also emphasized that it’s not acceptable for children to have a lower standard of living than their parents. “I have four kids and seven grandchildren. Downward mobility is not acceptable to me. We are going up, not down!”
This panorama shot was shared by Sabelas on Reddit:
And Sabelas also shared this shot from the other side:
Sanders also said they would move to public funding of elections “so anyone running for office can do so without depending on billionaires.”
Sanders noted that in 2016, his campaign appeared on page 19 of The New York Times and the mainstream media viewed their ideas as too extreme. But now things are different.
Ending the power of superdelegates at the Democratic National Convention – unheard of, couldn’t happen. Too radical… Well brothers and sisters, a funny thing has happened over the last couple of years. Turns out that justice is not too radical of an idea to the American people. In 2016 we won victories in 22 states around the countries, we won over 13 million votes, over 1,700 delegates at the Democratic Convention. And most importantly…during that campaign we won more votes from young people…than Clinton and Trump combined.”
“Never forget,” Sanders said further into his speech, “healthcare is a right, not a privilege.” His voice broke from the passion of his speech and the crowd cheered.
This might be one of the most enthusiastic crowds that Sanders has had yet.
“And today we say to Walmart and other low-wage employers in this country, people need a decent income to survive and live in dignity,” Sanders shared during his speech. “Stop paying your employees starvation wages. Nobody who works 40 hours a week in America should be forced to live in poverty.”
Sanders shared that five states, including California, have already raised the minimum wage, and Amazon and Disney had also raised their wage to $15/hour. And a new bill, he said, will likely soon pass the House to raise the federal minimum wage from a starvation wage of $7.25 to $15/hour. Sanders also shared that when they’re office, they will enact a jobs act so everyone who wants a job can get one.
This is another great crowd size photo, shared by u/Yarongo on Reddit.
A running joke right now when people ask if there are any numbers for the rally tonight is: “99 percent.” So until official estimates are released, that’s a good response for how many attended.
By the way, some people are claiming the crowd was there for the ACLU 100 rally and not Sanders. And although an ACLU rally is taking place today, you can see from the videos of the event that the crowd was there to hear Sanders speak, including the people who gathered on the City Hall steps.
“We are going to put together the strongest grassroots movement in the history of American politics,” Sanders told the crowd. “…I’m happy to tell you that in the first month of our campaign, we had well over one million people who signed up to get to work and volunteer on this campaign.”
Sanders concluded his speech with these thoughts:
They may have the wealth and the power, but at the end of the day they are the 1 percent. We are the 99 percent. And I may not be too good at arithmetic, but 99 percent is a hell of a lot more people than 1 percent. So that’s what … this campaign is about. Thinking big, not small. We have already helped transform political thinking in this country in the last four years, and we’ve got to continue to do so. This is the wealthiest country in the history of the world, people should not be sleeping on the streets, people should not be leaving college deeply in debt…30 million people should not be without health insurance. Think big, not small. Don’t let them divide us up. That is what demagogues always do. I believe from the bottom of my heart that when we stand together, when we keep our eyes on the prize…in creating a government and an economy that works for all of us… when we go forward together, nothing is going to stop us.”
Judging by the crowd at Sanders’ rally in Los Angeles today, he very well could deliver on his promise of having the biggest grassroots campaign in history and continuing to transform the country.
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