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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Bernie Sanders’ political rally highlights economic inequality, social issues

Bernie Sanders’ stance on issues of economic inequality, student loan debt and retirement benefits drew the most applause from his political rally at Reid Park on Friday night.

Sanders’ speech went on for over an hour, and the highest levels of audience reaction were during his attacks on what he called “establishment economics.”

“In 2007, it was Wall Street coming to the middle class, begging, ‘Oh please bail us out, we’ll be good,’ ” Sanders said. “When I’m elected President, it’ll be Wall Street coming to bail out the middle class!”

Sanders’ version of a bailout included increased taxes on Wall Street speculation to fund investment in education, infrastructure and health care.

At first glance, the diversity of the crowd was obvious; the age range stretched from 18-year-old college freshmen to 75-year-old retirees and everyone in between.

“Bernie Sanders is the type of candidate who says stuff that’s really obvious in a conversation, but a normal politician just wouldn’t say,” said Ysabella Rongo, a 23-year-old engineering management graduate student at the UA.

Saul Lieberman, a 70-year-old stagehand who helped out at the political rally, said he supports Sanders’ economic agenda.

“He’s up there talking for the common man,” Lieberman said. “He wants to change things, which will take a while, but I still support him and every part of his economic platform.”

But the political rally also touched on social issues, expanding Sanders’ message beyond a pure economic platform. Issues like abortion and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning rights also surfaced at the rally, which reached the younger members of the crowd.

“I really resonate with his stance on LGBTQ rights,” said Danielle Jancarole, a 23-year-old Mesa Community College student. “I like his economic agenda, but that’s more of a side benefit for me.”

The greatest non-economic issue Sanders spoke about was immigration. Like most of his stances, he was uncompromising in stating that the U.S. system regarding immigration needs reform.

“If you read about some of his previous events, you’ll see that he’s having a lot of trouble getting more Hispanics and minorities to attend,” said Heathre McAlees, an attendee who works in local Tucson government. “Which is a shame, because it’s his agenda that I think would benefit them the most.”

A majority of the crowd last night, however, were white attendees both old and young. But while the Hispanic attendees were few, the ones that had arrived shared just as much enthusiasm.

“I came here tonight all the way from Chandler, [Arizona],” said Paul Peru, 49, who works in plumbing and construction. “I think this is how people felt when Franklin [D.] Roosevelt was running for office. … I’ve been a political junkie since I was in my twenties, and I’ve never felt this way about any candidate.” 

Follow Isaac Rounseville on Twitter.

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