Bernie Sanders spoke to a huge crowd at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday, August 11, 2019. According to the people who were there, his speech was energizing and the crowd was one of the largest of the weekend. Bernie Sanders spoke at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox, which hosted more than 20 presidential candidates over the course of four days. The format of the event doesn’t allow for an exact crowd count, the Des Moines Register noted, but thousands attended and the crowd was overflowing. Read on to see highlights about the event, quotes from people attended, and photos.
You can watch Sanders’ full speech below.
Sanders reminded the crowd that they don’t have the luxury of being depressed or giving up in despair. “This is the moment history will judge us by,” he said. “…This is the moment we bring our people together and create an economy and a government not dominated by the billionaires, but … that works for all of us.”
Jeff Timmins, who attended the event and was a 2016 Sanders State delegate, provided many of the photos in this story, including the photo above and below.
Chris Laursen, a 2016 National Delegate for Bernie Sanders and President of UAW Local 74, watched Sanders’ speech at the Iowa State Fair and was helping with security for Sanders.
“The huge crowd fed off the power of Bernie’s words,” Laursen said. “It was lit up. I think for many people it was the first time hearing Bernie speak in person. He’s definitely got my corn kernel.”
Sanders started out his speech by thanking the people of Iowa. In 2016, Iowa hosted the first caucus and Sanders came within a third of a percentage point of Hillary Clinton, Des Moines Register shared. Clinton got 49.84 percent and 23 delegates and Sanders got 49.59 percent and 21 delegates. It was a big boost to his 2016 campaign and set the tone for the rest of the primary.
Mike Carberry, Iowa City Environmental and Political Consultant, said about Sanders’ speech:
Bernie drew a crowd of thousands and his speech was filled with his greatest hits like income inequality, climate change, Medicare for All, $15 minimum wage… But just like a classic rock and roll band, Iowa State Fair crowds wanna hear the hits and they love ’em.”
Carberry shared these next two photos of a unique Medicare for All sign that included a Bernie figure at the top. It was seen at the Iowa State Fair.
The presidential candidates who spoke at the Soapbox over the last four days included Bernie Sanders, Michael Bennet, Tom Steyer, Bill Weld, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, John Hickenlooper, Kirsten Gillibrand, Joe Sestak, Amy Klobuchar, Tim Ryan, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, John Delaney, Marianne Williamson, Tulsi Gabbard, Steve Bullock and Joe Biden. Candidates spoke from Thursday through Sunday. Each candidate is given 20 minutes to speak.
According to USA Today and the Des Moines Register, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren had among the largest crowds of all the presidential candidates who participated.
Here are some more photos that Timmins shared from the event. Sanders commanded the crowd during his energetic speech.
And he stopped to talk with people before and after his speech.
Another view of the crowd for Sanders’ speech is below.
Of course, during the event Sanders had to take part in some of the fair food as he walked around with his wife, Jane Sanders.
They took time to talk to people who were at the state fair and mingle with the crowd.
The crowds were especially excited to see Sanders and chanted “Bernie!” when they saw him.
The Des Moines Register noted that Sanders’ crowd looked as large as Warren’s, and both of their events were probably the largest of the speeches over the four days. Some Twitter accounts guessed that Sanders’ event was the biggest.
Jeff Timmins, a 2016 Sanders State Delegate and a current 2020 volunteer for Bernie Sanders’ campaign, shared his experience at the event with Heavy.
“It was great seeing so many familiar faces [at the event], especially so when they are friends that don’t necessarily have Sanders as their first choice this time around,” Timmins said. “Iowa is very different than the last time with only two running. I like Sanders’ chances of winning a majority on caucus night more than ever after today.”