GRAND PRAIRIE — Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders’ rally drew crowds of more than 7,000 Saturday in Grand Prairie.
“It looks like Dallas is ready for a political revolution, and so are a lot of people across the country,” said Sanders (I-VT) said to a crowd at the Verizon Center.
Introduced by former Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Jim Hightower, Texas House of Representatives member, Marisa Marquez, and former Texas House of Representatives Member and current immigration lawyer Domingo Garcia, Sanders aimed to appeal to Texas Democrats.
Sanders attacked his opponent Hillary Clinton and outlined their differences, saying that unlike Clinton he does not have a super PAC, he voted against the war in Iraq and his speeches are all free to the public.
“It is one thing to have the support of the establishment,” Sanders said. “It is another thing to have the support of the people. I think we have a surprise coming for a lot of people on Tuesday.”
Sanders also attacked Wall Street, the top 1 percent and corrupt politicians, especially ones who try to suppress voter turnout.
“If you don’t have the guts to participate in a free and fair election, get another job. Get out of politics,” Sanders said.
Sanders called for major reforms to America’s broken criminal justice system, the current federal minimum “starvation” wage and pay inequality. He criticized the Republican presidential candidates for their pro-life stance – calling it hypocrisy at the highest level.
“Republicans hate the government except when it comes to the right of a woman to choose, then they want the government to make that decision for her.” Sanders said.
Sanders thanked the crowd for their support and commented on how far he’s come. He said when he began his campaign 10 months ago no one outside of Vermont knew who he was, he had no money and was three percent in the polls. He was 50 points behind Clinton in the Iowa polls, but ended with what he deemed a “virtual tie” in the caucus. Similarly, he started 30 points behind in New Hampshire, but won 60.4 percent of the primary vote.
Dallas 29-year-old Nathan Stenstrom supports Bernie but, “is under no illusion that he will win.”
Although Stenstrom is pro-life and disagrees with Sanders on many social issues, he supports Sanders because he wants drastic economic reform.
“We need to return to an Eisenhower regime of progressive taxation and Sanders is the only one who will do it,” Stenstrom said.
Stenstrom said he would never vote for Clinton because of her dishonesty and “long, sordid track record.” Ohio governor John Kasich is his second choice for the presidency, although he is not confident in Kasich’s electability either.
San Diego TCU Student Hannah Freeman said she considers herself a global citizen before she is an American citizen and supports Sanders largely due to his foreign policy. Freeman said she strongly opposes the use of drones and believes every person should be granted constitutional rights.
“I don’t think that American lives are infinitely more valuable than the life of someone who happens to live in Pakistan,” Freeman said. “Bernie Sanders is the only politician I have ever seen that values every life equally.”
Although she said Sanders is not the most charismatic or electrifying speaker, Freeman, believes Sanders’ integrity and passion will win the election for him.
Frisco 25-year-old Chelsea Odlesvy is voting for Sanders because of her family’s struggle with health care and affording education. Odlesvy cites the cost of college as her reason for not going back to school.
She said she knows there needs to be economic reform when she looks at her 95-year-old great grandmother struggling to make ends meet. She believes that when 95-year-old American citizens cannot afford their medication and rent there is a major problem that needs to be addressed.
Odlesvy said she fears for what will happen if Sanders is not elected, and does not believe America will be a safe place to live for much longer.
“I will not bring a child into this world if Bernie Sanders is not president,” Odlesvy said.