ATLANTA– About 1,200 people braved Atlanta rush-hour traffic Friday to get a look at presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders during his first campaign stop in Georgia. “Welcome to the revolution,” he said as he took the stage to chants of “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie.”
Many are passionate and enthusiastic about his platform of taxing the rich, regulating corporations and free college, cheering before he even finished his standard applause lines. “You know my stump speech better than I do,” he quipped. Those sold on him see him delivering on the promises of the early Clinton era. “I know about Hillary because she’s been around forever,” said Atlanta resident Jim Snyder. “…She was my #1 until Bernie.”
Others were just curious about an alternative to Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton. “I wanted to learn more about his platform,” said Anna Kershaw of Atlanta. “Hillary, I have issues with her.” She, like many liberals, are unhappy about Clinton’s vote as a senator to go to war in the Persian Gulf. Sanders, a Vermont Senator, condemned the war. Sanders told the crowd he wants to raise spending on education and will limit incomes for corporate executives, bluntly calling for income redistribution. There has already been wealth redistribution for the last 30 years as middle incomes have shrunk, he said. “We, brothers and sisters, are going to reverse the flow,” he thundered. Sanders’ calls for a higher minimum wage, 12 weeks of family leave and campaign-finance reform has brought him the support of organized labor which is eating into Clinton’s base nationally. The challenge for him is to break through her lock on the black vote, which makes up the majority of Democratic primary voters in Georgia and most of the South. Friday’s crowd was almost entirely white twenty somethings. Of course, high school football games were also competing with him.
Still, he draws big crowds at rallies and polls show him close to Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire. “The reason this campaign is doing well is because we talk about the issues that people stay up late talking about,” he said.
Walter Jones Director Morris News Service
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