Sanders draws large audience to small venue, anticipates Tuesday election

March 1, 2016

GRAND PRAIRIE – With the arrival of Super Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his “A Future To Believe In” rally to the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie on Saturday.

The Sanders campaign reported slightly more than 7,000 attendees at the Dallas rally and more than 10,000 at a rally in Austin just hours before.

By 10:30 a.m., five hours before Sanders was expected to speak, a lengthy line had already formed outside of the theater’s main entry and rapidly grew as the anticipated hour neared.

Sanders took the stage 30 minutes late and received nothing short of an ecstatic welcome. He right away took to reminding the audience of his campaign’s well-known fundraising style.

“I do not have a super PAC. I do not represent Wall Street, corporate America, or the billionaire class,” Sanders said.

The crowd eagerly accepted this and cheered. One supporter sees this method as an indicator of the Vermont senator’s ability to get things done.

Supporters of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders cheer after Sanders stated his plans to raise minimum wage and his ideas to create a free college tuition for the future of America. Attendees gathered at the Verizon Center in Grand Prairie on Feb. 27 to show their support. Photo by Amanda Hair.
Supporters of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders cheer after Sanders stated his plans to raise minimum wage and his ideas to create a free college tuition for the future of America. Attendees gathered at the Verizon Center in Grand Prairie on Feb. 27 to show their support. Photo by Amanda Hair.

“It seems like [Hillary Clinton’s supporters] are labeling him as a single issue candidate but it seems like there are so many different things that could be resolved if you just address that one issue,” attendee Jackson Byrd of Allen said. “And because he isn’t bought, because he doesn’t have a super PAC, he’s really one of the only candidates who is willing to do so openly.”

Sanders addressed this along with his other major campaign highlights of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, guaranteeing health care for all, mending a broken criminal justice system, and free education at public universities, an issue that commonly receives Sanders criticism.

“Anybody here have student debt?” Sanders asked.

Hands shot up throughout the venue and evoked an angry roar.

“Punishing people for getting an education is crazy,” Sanders said, to which the audience reacted louder than any proposal made that  afternoon. “That’s not a radical idea, it’s common sense.”

Sanders continued in addressing pay equity, reproductive health rights, comprehensive immigration reform, youth unemployment, climate change, trade policy and Social Security.

The energy of the audience fueled the rally until the very end, where Sanders took to confronting what many candidates have also addressed in recent political addresses- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Criticizing the businessman’s public notoriety, Sanders joked, “Thank God most of us are not like Donald Trump.”

In concluding the rally, Sanders made a subtle jab at Trump through wordplay, attracting audience laughter and applause.

“We will win because community trumps selfishness, and most importantly because love trumps hatred,” Sanders said and wished the crowd goodbye.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders waves in conclusion of the rally with his wife Jane O'Meara Sanders. More than 7,000 attended the rally on Saturday at the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie. Photo by Amanda Hair.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders waves in conclusion of the rally with his wife Jane O’Meara Sanders. More than 7,000 attended the rally on Saturday at the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie. Photo by Amanda Hair.

The energy of the audience never faltered and supporters left the rally confident about super Tuesday.

“He preaches tolerance, and that is the most important thing to me,” attendee Juan Mendoza of Allen said. “I think that he is what we need, 100 percent.”