Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas ahead of NV caucus
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) —
A packed gymnasium at Bonanza High school greeted a 74-year-old Independent Senator from Vermont, a "Democratic Socialist" by his own admission, like a rock star.
Bernie Sanders was here. He was the candidate who, months ago, couldn't even call himself a longshot. He was an afterthought.
Today, he brought his insurgent campaign to Nevada, a state where in six days he stands a chance of beating Hillary Clinton. Sanders arrived here five days after beating Clinton by 22 points in New Hampshire, and two weeks after narrowly losing in Iowa.
"We are here in Nevada," he said to a cheering crowd his campaign estimated was 2,100 strong.
"Everything in my political gut tells me that we have the momentum here in this state," Sanders said. "If people come out in large numbers on caucus day, we're going to win here."
Sanders has ridden anger over economic inequality to upend the Democratic race for President. Sunday afternoon his anger at a system that he says is "rigged" was on full display.
"This country will not survive morally, it will not survive economically when so few have so much and so many have so little," Sanders said to cheers. "It's clear to me that when Mom is out working and when Dad's out working, and the kids are out working, wages in America are too damn low."
He repeated his call to raise the minimum wage to $15.
Part of the fight for the Democratic nomination revolves around who's the champion of the middle class. At a packed rally Saturday in Henderson, Clinton told union workers she's the champion, and she also told the crowd she will not make promises she cannot keep, part of her pitch that Sanders is overselling what he can deliver.
Sanders told News 3 Sunday he can deliver on what he promises, but he needs help to do it.
"If the American people are engaged in the political process in a way that they are not today - if they say to Washington, you know what, you are going to raise the minimum wage, you are going to make public colleges and universities tuition free, you are going to have your wealthy friends start paying their fair share - when that happens, there is no limit to what we cannot accomplish," he said after the rally.
Sunday, Sanders bragged about the fact the money he has raised has come from small donations.
"We don't need a super PAC, we don't want a super PAC, we are not beholden to Wall Street or the billionaire class - they can keep their money. We don't need it," Sanders said.
Sanders used the rally to once again repeat his call for "Medicare for all," his prescription for universal health care.
"Every other major country on earth can somehow guarantee health care to all of their people, why not us?" Sanders asked.
Clinton says she wants to build on the Affordable Care Act, not replace it with a new system which she says would throw the country back into a divisive debate over health care.
Sanders also railed Sunday against a judicial system that he says protects Wall Street wrong-doers, but penalizes ordinary Americans for small crimes. He called for a reform of the criminal justice system.
"Tell you what we're going to do," Sanders said. "We're going to invest in jobs and education for our kids, not jails and incarceration."
In the crowd were people like Christopher Kennedy.
"I don't think that Bernie Sanders can deliver anything by himself," Kennedy told News 3 before the rally began. "What I think Bernie represents is motivating Americans to get back in and demand the things that they think will set America back on the right track."
As for Sanders overpromising, Bruce Weigman begged to differ.
"I have a message for Hillary," Weigman said to News 3 as we approached him. "Hillary, he may not be able to get it all done, but I know he'll try and that's good enough for me."
The Democratic caucus is Saturday, February 20.