13,000 San Diegans Show Up for Bernie Sanders

by on March 23, 2016 · 0 comments

in California, Culture, Economy, Election, Labor, Media, Politics, San Diego


Main convention center room, the crowd waits.

Si Se Puede! Sanders Wows Young and Diverse Crowd

By Doug Porter

The big news yesterday wasn’t that Senator Bernie Sanders spoke in San Diego. It was the diverse crowd of 13,000 plus people who put their lives on hold for a day to stand up for a better world.

The line to get into the San Diego Convention Center started in the wee hours of the morning. By the time the doors opened at 4pm the line stretched forever. Halls D&E were filled with the first ten thousand or so people in line, and an overflow room was opened. And then a second overflow room was opened.


Close up of crowd before Sanders appeared.

It is an article of faith among some Sanders supporters that their candidate gets short changed by the media. Today we’ll examine a sampling of local mainstream coverage of yesterday’s events.

As the Sun Rose Over San Diego

People were lined up outside the convention center as the sun came up. By midday, there was, according to Union-Tribune, “…a jovial crowd of some 500 to 600 people, carrying signs and decked out in Bernie gear…”

The swelling crowd included young and old, people of all races, and several students, including some who are not even old enough to vote.

Annie Price, a 16-year-old Mt. Carmel High School junior, said her dad let her skip school for the day to attend the rally. She said that if she could vote she would cast her ballot for Bernie. “I think he really cares about the country and the people in it,” the teen said.

A Marine war veteran felt the same way. Thomas Karl, a Camp Pendleton Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq and now lives in Imperial Beach, said he was voting for Sanders because he thinks he can fix the broken economy. “He’s all about taxing the rich and helping the poor,” Karl said.

The early crowd. Via Mark Lane, who was at the front of the line.

The early crowd. Via Mark Lane, who was at the front of the line.

At some point in the afternoon, a handful of Donald Trump supporters appeared but left after it became obvious their attempts at taunting people waiting in line were mostly failing.

From the Union-Tribune, because ‘both sides matter’ (LOL):

Bernie Line outsideAbout six supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held signs and engaged Sanders supporters in conversation at an area west of Embarcadero Marina Park.

They held signs that said “Make American Great Again” and “Bernie Likes Nickelback.”

Gaege Turnbow, 18, of Kensington, said the reactions ranged from respectful debate to people shouting obscenities at them.

In fairness, the UT’s coverage did include interviews with people who’d come from all over for the event. It wouldn’t be San Diego if you didn’t have some right-wingers show up… (I thought it was Ted Cruz who liked Nickleback.)

Other Progressive Candidates Included

Here's Sarah Saez' excellent collage of the march via Facebook

Here’s Sarah Saez excellent collage of the march via Facebook

As word got out about RSVPs for the Convention Center appearance being booked up, Sanders supporters announced a second event; a mid-day rally at the plaza outside city hall, followed by a march through downtown to the waterfront.

From Fox 5:

“I appreciate him taking the risk for all of us. I feel he is the only honest candidate running,” event organizer Jim Boydston of Bay Park said. “He’s been in politics for over 35 years and nobody has been able to dig up any dirt on him.”

Boydston was a registered non-partisan voter who re-registered as a Democrat so he could vote for Sanders in California’s June primary.

“He doesn’t kowtow to the oligarchs,” Boydston said. “We the people can get our government back.’

This second event allowed local campaigns of the progressive persuasion to get their candidates seen and heard by the partisans fir Bernie. I saw city council candidates Sarah Saez and Jose Caballero, along with city attorney candidate Brian Pease during my swing through the event. (See coverage from yesterday as it happened, here.)

Some KUSI coverage of the march and rally:

KUSI News – San Diego, CA


The event didn’t actually start until well after its promised 8pm start time. Actress Rosario Dawson (did you know she can speak some Klingon?) introduced Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Or rather, she would have if the crowd wasn’t already going wild.

From The Washington Examiner:


Actress Rosario Dawson

Actress Rosario Dawson introduced Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally Tuesday night in San Diego, commending the Vermont senator on his “bold leadership” and ability to draw youthful crowds.

“This [election] is … about the soul of our country, the soul of our policies and about our vision,” she told an enthusiastic audience. “We do not need incremental change, we need bold leadership. And that’s what Bernie Sanders brings to the conversation.”

The “Daredevil” star began her speech by bashing the “mass media” for what she perceives as a nasty habit of already calling the Democratic presidential nomination for Sanders’ opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“I see all of you, and I’m so grateful that you’re here. Unfortunately, the mass media says don’t even bother,” she said, as the crowd booed. “I’m really glad that you showed them what’s up. We have to keep doing that. There is a lot that’s at stake.”

Here’s a tweet from CBS8 showing Sanders arrival on the stage.

Here’s a video of Sanders entire speech:

The Focus Was Elsewhere



For much of the local coverage, the focus was on things happening outside the convention center halls.

There were primaries and caucuses for Democrats in Idaho, Utah and Arizona yesterday.

Voting in Arizona was, by just about every account I read, a real tribute to Republican efforts to suppress the vote. The number of polling places was slashed by 70%. People were still waiting in line at 11pm, even after the “results” had been announced on the national news.


Via Mark Lane

Via Mark Lane

Content and Context Matter

Ken Stone at the Times of San Diego went with the ‘we won’t vote for anybody but Bernie meme.’

He was talking about 33% of Sanders supporters who now say in the heat of the primary season that their candidate is the only one who matters.

Been there, done that. Had the Eugene McCarthy for President button to prove it. A whopping dozen people were interviewed by the Times

The Times article did include what was going on inside:

Scheduled to start at 8 p.m., the rally didn’t begin until 8:27, when TV and film star Rosario Dawson made a heart with her hands and said:

“You’re here because you’re talking to each other” and not at the orders of the Democratic National Committee. “We need you now more than ever. Youth has been on the right side of history on every issue.”

The guy in the sunglasses approves of what Sanders was talking about...

The guy in the sunglasses approves of what Sanders was talking about…

And: “If you want to beat Trump, vote Bernie.”

Sanders recited his popular-with-young-people plans, including free public-college tuition, loosening of marijuana limits and campaign finance reform.

He got the usual laughs with: “I have been criticized for saying this, so let me say it again: I believe health care is a right for all people.”

But perhaps the biggest cheers from an estimated 8,800-person indoor audience came when he said his campaign would side with Latinos on immigration — and against a Trump-proffered mass deportation.

Si Se Puede and Give Peace a Chance

Responding the Sanders comments on immigration, the crowd broke into a chant of “Si Se Puede” (Yes We Can). When Sanders expressed condolences to the victims of the bombings earlier in the day, the crowd flashed peace signs.

From NBC7 San Diego:

Bernie rally 1The Democratic Presidential Candidate stopped in San Diego for the rally more than two months ahead of the winner-take-all California primary in June.

“When we began this campaign we talked about a need for millions of people to become involved in the political process,” Sanders told supporters. “Tonight in Utah, tonight in Idaho, and tonight in Arizona there are record-breaking turnouts.”

Sanders stressed the importance of reform in the criminal justice system and defeating ISIS, among other issues.

He said his campaign listened to the concerns of youths, military veterans and the elderly.

“We were considered a fringe candidacy. Now who, who in America, the media said, could believe in a political revolution? Now, 10 months later, we have now won 10 primaries and caucuses, and unless I’m very mistaken we’re going to win a couple of more tonight,” Sanders said to cheers at the rally.

FYI– On the Republican side of the campaign, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz spent the day taking pot shots at each others wives.


These are excerpts from Doug Porter’s daily column at our associated San Diego Free Press.


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