Sanders rally in Austin attracts thousands


Jeff Gauthier / Creative Commons

The rally was held at Auditorium Shores near Lady Bird Lake on Sunday Feb. 23. The rally brought in more than 12,700 people.

“After 100 years of all talk, now is the time for action,” Senator Bernie Sanders proclaimed to the crowd. Thousands gathered at Auditorium Shores on Sunday to hear the liberal democratic presidential candidate speak. 

Sanders is now the democratic front-runner in the 2020 presidential race. He recently won the Nevada primary  with 47%. Joe Biden trailed behind at 21%. This gives many supporters hope that the candidate will continue to do well and implement change.

This hope was evident on Sunday afternoon. With a massive crowd, it was hard to find a spot with a view of Sanders, but his voice echoed throughout the outdoor venue. Crowds chanted “Bernie, Bernie,” to which the senator replied, “You should be chanting ‘us’ instead, since this is your campaign,” which the crowd then proceeded to do. 

“Hearing Bernie speak is always fun. I think he had some really good points, like talking about the prison industrial complex, the pharmaceutical industry and climate change. I think he will be able to accomplish all of these things,” said Whit James, a St. Edward’s student who attended the rally and worked for Sanders’ campaign in 2016.

Many following Sanders’s campaign have criticized him for being too idealistic. While it’s true that he is full of many ideas on a wide range of issues, his defense for this argument comes in a Nelson Mandela quote which he used at the rally, “It always seems impossible until it is done.” 

Among his many ideas for policies to implement in his presidency, a prominent one is improving healthcare in America.

“We are going to end the international embarrassment of the United States being the only country to not guarantee healthcare,” Sanders said.

He explained that, contrary to his opponents’ beliefs, providing Medicare for all is not a radical idea. Sanders claims that once he is in office, no one will pay more than $200 a year for prescription drugs.

“Healthcare is a human right, not a privilege,” Sanders said. 

Along with changes he wishes to see in 2020, Sanders also talked about fighting climate change. 

“Donald Trump is embarrassing the entire world when he continues to believe that climate change is a hoax. I believe scientists, not Trump,” Sanders said.

He went on to explain that he will go along with the Green New Deal, and transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable energy. He claimed that from this, “20 million well-paid union jobs will form,” 

“We have a moral responsibility to make certain the planet we leave future generations with is healthy and habitable,” Sanders said. 

Sanders believes that instead of spending trillions of dollars on weapons of mass destruction we should “pool our resources to fight climate change and end a broken and racist criminal justice system.” He also wishes to make changes to the criminal justice system by legalizing marijuana and expunging records of marijuana-related arrests on his first day in office. This statement was met with cheers that could be heard all throughout downtown Austin. 

While in office, Sanders also plans to end ICE raids and “Trump’s racist immigrant laws.” He hopes to re-write legislation “by the people for the people, not the NRA,” and ban the sale and distribution of assault rifles. He also intends to expand funding for Planned Parenthood, proclaiming that “women, not the government, have the right to control their bodies.” 

Sanders, filled with energy and ideas, reminded the crowd that if elected, he will also raise the minimum wage to a liveable wage, provide good, quality education with no debt by making all public universities and colleges free, and tackle climate change harder than anyone has before. 

Sanders ended with a call to action for the people of Austin, “If you all come out to vote, we can and we will win Texas.”  

Learn more about Bernie Sanders and upcoming events at this link, register to vote using this link and check this website for information on where to vote.