Bernie Sanders Draws 28,000 in Portland, Largest Turnout for Any Presidential Candidate This Year
It was by far the largest turnout for any presidential candidate this year, nearly 30,000 people turned out in Portland, Oregon on Sunday evening at a rally for Bernie Sanders where the city's Moda Center was filled to capacity and thousands more were directed to overflow areas to watch the event on large screens.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 10, 2015
"Whoa. This is an unbelievable turnout," said the U.S. senator and presidential candidate after taking the podium.
With a populist message and a continued upward trend in early state and national polling, Sanders has been breaking his own attendance records over recent weeks and months, attracting overflow crowds in liberal bastions like New England and the northwest, but also in more conservative states like Texas, New Orleans, and Arizona.
According to reporting by The Oregonian:
The senator received waves of thunderous applause as he vowed to fight for universal health benefits, paid family leave, paid sick leave, free public college tuition, a $15 minimum wage, expanded Social Security benefits and a major public works program to rebuild crumbling infrastructure.
"Almost all of the wealth is held by a small handful of people and together we are going to change that," said Sanders, vowing to take on the "billionaire class," end corporate tax breaks and break up major Wall Street financial institutions. "If they're too big to fail, they're too big to exist," he added.
"We see kids getting criminal records for having marijuana but the the CEOs of these major institutions get away" with no sanctions after their "greed and recklessness" caused the 2008 collapse of the financial markets.
Sunday's evening rally in Portland followed a Saturday night rally at the University of Washington in Seattle that drew an estimated 15,000 people.
By contrast, as the Washington Post points out, the largest crowd yet attracted by Hillary Clinton's campaign was estimated at 5,500, which came at her formal New York kickoff event in June. None of the Republican candidates have seen crowds anywhere near what Sanders is getting.
Despite the ability of a few protesters to shut down an earlier campaign stop in Seattle on Saturday, the Sanders campaign continues to build traction with its far-reaching and inclusive populist message regarding economic inequality, social justice, and a broad call for a "political revolution" centered on getting big money out of politics, fighting corporate greed and combating the human-caused global warming and climate change. Additionally, Sanders has so far gone further than other candidates in making criminal justice reform and racial inequities a key feature of his campaign.
As part of the campaign's expanding agenda, Sanders on Sunday released an updated and detailed issue statement on "racial justice" which calls for "addressing the four central types of violence waged against black and brown Americans: physical, political, legal and economic."
During Sunday evening's rally in Portland, Sanders told the crowd "there is no candidate who will fight harder to end institutional racism in this country and to reform our broken criminal justice system."
Ultimately, however, he said that his goal is to unite those who are being mistreated, abused and under-served by a political and economic status quo that is controlled and designed to benefit the rich and powerful while leaving working people, the poor, the middle class and other vulnerable populations out in the cold.
"Bringing people together," Sanders said, is at the core of his campaign.
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'These Aren't Wildfires'<p>Sam Ricketts, who led climate policy and strategy for Governor Jay Inslee's 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted on September 11 that "These aren't wildfires. These are #climatefires, driven by fossil fuel pollution."</p><p>"The rate and the strength and the devastation wrought by these disasters are fueled by climate change," Ricketts told DW of fires that have burnt well over 5 million acres across California, Oregon, Washington State, and into neighboring Idaho. </p><p>In a two-day period in early September, Ricketts notes that more of Washington State burned than in almost any entire fire season until now, apart from 2015. </p><p>California, meanwhile, was a tinderbox after its hottest summer on record, with temperatures in Death Valley reaching nearly 130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. It has been reported as the hottest temperature ever measured on Earth.</p>
<div id="29ad9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8346fe7350e1371d400097cd48bf45a2"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1306969603180879872" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Drought-parched wetlands in South America have been burning for weeks. https://t.co/pjAKdFcKPg #Pantanal https://t.co/ImN2C5vwcp</div> — NASA Earth (@NASA Earth)<a href="https://twitter.com/NASAEarth/statuses/1306969603180879872">1600440810.0</a></blockquote></div><p>As evidenced by Australia's apocalyptic Black Summer of 2019-2020, fires are burning bigger and for longer, with new records set year-on-year. Right now, Brazil's vast and highly biodiverse Pantanal wetlands are suffering from catastrophic fires.</p>
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Climate Rhetoric Could Help Decide Election<p>The language of climate has begun to influence the U.S. presidential election campaign, with Democratic nominee Joe Biden labelling President Trump a "climate arsonist."</p><p>Biden is touting a robust climate plan that includes a 2050 zero emissions target and a return to the Paris Agreement. Though lacking the ambition of The New Green Deal, it has been front and center of his policy platform in recent days, at a time when five hurricanes are battering the U.S. Gulf Coast while smoke blanketing the West Coast spreads all the way to the East. </p><p>People are experiencing the climate crisis in a visceral way and almost universally relate to the language of an emergency, says Ricketts. "They know something is wrong."</p>
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