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Outreach to young people is a major part of Bernie Sanders’s campaign

Bernie Sanders addressed a large, enthusiastic crowd at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia on November 21, the day after the fifth Democratic Primary debate.  He was welcomed to the stage by Terrel Champion, a Sanders policy advisor who is himself a graduate of Morehouse (class of 2013).  Addressing some 2000 people according to Essence, Sanders’s speech as usual started by decrying the divisive bigotries emanating from the current administration and promising a polar opposite politics based on bringing Americans together; he then discussed the progressive policies he’s advocating and the notion that implementing those policies will require not simply a president but a movement.  This Politico article describes some of Sanders’s proposals to greatly boost investment in HBCU’s, tribal colleges, and other educational institutions that have been historically important paths of opportunity; more details can be found on the campaign website.

One woman seemed especially joyous (she kept wiping away tears) as Bernie took the stage and began to speak, and when someone pleasantly remarked about this on a popular Twitter thread that day, she saw that tweet — and, still beaming about that moment, she tweeted back:

Commenting in an interview about the overwhelmingly enthusiastic welcome Bernie Sanders received at Morehouse, Sanders national campaign press secretary Briahna Joy Gray said:

You can’t manufacture the relief, the enthusiasm you get when telling a group of college students, who know more than anyone else — black students, particularly black women, particularly people at HBCUs — know what it is to live life under the anvil of college debt.

Clicking on Ms. Peters’s tweet about her crying at the Morehouse rally, I noticed that she’s a student at another renowned Atlanta HBCU, Spelman College, and that this was one of her first-ever tweets, and that her enthusiasm regarding Bernie Sanders’s visit is on full display:  her current Twitter backdrop is a photo of that Morehouse rally.

This reminded me of something I’d read earlier that week about Sanders’s outreach to young people in California, and how that outreach propagates on social media.  Vice:

Scores of kids reposted those images with pride, writing something to the effect of, “Hey, that’s my school!” In short, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has her selfies; Sanders has his rallies.

A recent poll found that nearly three-quarters of registered California Latino voters plan to vote in the primary next year, which would be an unprecedented number.

Christian Arana, the policy director of the Latino Community Foundation, which conducted that poll, said Sanders has been doing the best job of any campaign reaching out to young Latinos, a population he said has been shocked into civic action by the Trump presidency.

“There’s been a civic awakening among young Latinos,” he said. “This is a huge opportunity to incorporate a young Latino population that has often been ignored. For Bernie to go to Fresno City College, you know, like the heart of young Latinos in the Central Valley, it’s a big deal.”

Essence reports that:

Sanders’ 2020 National Co-Chair Nina Turner, National Press Secretary Briahna Joy Gray, HBCU Outreach Coordinator, and surrogates Phillip Agnew and Ja’Mal Green met with students at Tennessee State University, Alabama State University and Tuskegee University, before the tour culminated at Morehouse.

Here are views of a couple students at the Morehouse rally, as reported by News One: 

“I feel like Bernie’s relations with young Black people is the most developed in the race right now,” said [John] Bowers, the Morehouse SGA [Student Government Association] president who is also an economics major political science minor. “His plans on social development are much more thought out than any other candidate.”

“I have been supporting Sanders since the 2016 primary,” Victoria Iglesias Roche, a senior political science major at Spelman, said. “Bernie is the most liberal and progressive representative, and he has the track record in Vermont to get it done.”

Another young person who got teary-eyed

Turning out new voters is crucial

Bernie Sanders’s determination and efforts to get out new voters behooves not only his own campaign, but the whole Democratic Party.  In 2016, about 41 out every 100 voting-eligible Americans did not cast a vote for president.

It’s a gigantic number of people — over 94 million.  It must be the case that this enormous group contains a full spectrum of folks, from conservative-minded to liberal-minded, from rigid to persuadable, all ages and colors and faiths, native-born and immigrant.

How well can each of our presidential candidates tap into that huge pool of potential votes?  How well can our party?  The success of the individuals vying for the Democratic nomination, and of the Democratic Party in general, rests heavily on the answers to those questions.


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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.



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