As many as 3,000 people came out to the field next to the Stadium Armory in Washington, D.C. to hear Bernie Sanders just days after his campaign was declared by the media to be over. The California primaries had ended two days earlier, although the ballots still not fully counted, and the media had coronated Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee.
Hours earlier, Senator Sanders had met with President Barack Obama in a high-profile meeting and then vowed to work with Clinton to defeat Trump in November. His speech at the Armory made no mention of the day’s events as he continued to strongly push all of his campaign issues including D.C. statehood. The D.C. primary was on Tuesday, June 14.
Cornell West, well known author and activist, welcomed the crowd by saying “Believe in this revolution. Make your decision based upon your love of poor and working people. We are going to fight together.” Deborah Parker, an Indigenous women’s activist and Ben Jealous, a civic leader and formerly President and CEO of the NAACP also opened up the rally .
Liberation spoke to several participants, recording their thoughts at this wildly enthusiastic event.
“I don’t know if I can vote for Hillary,” said Danii Jurado, 25. Jurado, a college graduate, feels that Obama has done a disservice to D.C. voters by endorsing Clinton, before they even had a chance to vote in the primaries.
“It’s a disservice to people wanting to exercise their right to vote.” Jurado said that he plans to join a group of protests outside of the Democratic National Convention come July in Philadelphia.
“Everyone would want healthcare insurance, free tuition, but they think it would be a crisis” said Leslie Sama, 26. Sama told Liberation that Hillary Clinton will say whatever she can to get elected, and does not forsee any change being made if that is the case.
Chelsey, 27, is a legal worker who has pledged to write in Bernie Sanders even if Clinton takes the nomination. “No way will I vote for Clinton. Bernie has been consistent throughout his career,” Chelsey concluded.
Darren Edwards, 24, is an IT worker who brought his niece to the rally with him. “I’m not enthusiastic about Hillary being the nominee.” Edwards said that as an African-American male Clinton’s legacy is hard on him because of the crime bills introduced by Bill Clinton (with Hillary’s backing ) in the 1990s.
Hannah Bahnmiller, 24, is a grad student from New York and intern in D.C. for the summer. This rally was her first time seeing Sanders speak. She seemed unsure of who she was going to vote for or what she was going to do if Hillary Clinton got the nomination. “A lot of people are posing this dichotomy that if you don’t vote for Hillary then Trump is gonna win and that’s very scary.” She plans on looking into third party candidates.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation table was very well received throughout the event and afterwards, with hundreds of flyers distributed and many people signing up to find out more about the socialist organization and its 2016 presidential candidate, Gloria La Riva.