Rally attendees “Feel the Bern”

Mercury staff writer recounts sights, sounds of candidate’s stop in Dallas

The crowd applauded thunderously as the candidate walked onto the stage. They waved posters and craned their necks hoping for a distant glimpse of the potential presidential nominee.

On Feb. 27, Bernie Sanders spoke at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie. He came to Texas the weekend before Super Tuesday, hoping to garner support among democratic voters. According to news reports, over 6,000 people attended the rally.

Hours before the doors were scheduled to open, a line wrapped around the theater. People waited in the heat for a chance to hear Sanders speak in person.

Even though the line moved slowly, the excitement in the air didn’t wilt under the hot sun. Strangers with a common interest in Sanders began making friends and discussing political ideologies. Their chatting helped to pass the time while the line inched slowly forward.

Once inside, the auditorium filled up quickly. Those standing at the back of the line were relieved to find a seat. To pass the time, the crowd began doing the wave and chanting, “Feel the Bern” over the loud, upbeat music playing through the speakers. A group of enthusiastic Sanders supporters held up LED letters spelling out his name, much to the delight of the crowd.

To quell the crowd’s restlessness, speakers and singers came on stage to endorse Sanders. Kicking off the rally was Jessie Frye, a young singer from Denton. She sang several vaguely politically related songs and urged the crowd to vote for Sanders. After her, other politicians spoke, including former Rep. Domingo Garcia and former Texas Agricultural Commissioner Jim Hightower.

The crowd erupted with cheering and yelling as Sanders finally entered the stage with his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, who came along to support him on the campaign trail. After standing next to Sanders for a brief moment, Jane left the stage and he began his speech.

As Sanders spoke about corporate greed, the plight of the working American and various other social and economic problems, the crowd listened intently.

Some leaned forward in their seats trying to catch every word he spoke while others nearly burst with excitement and cheered when they agreed with what he said. Occasionally, the crowd interrupted Sanders’ speech with chanting, causing him to pause and wait for the crowd to settle down.

After speaking for nearly an hour, Sanders said goodbye to the crowd so he could make his next campaign stop in Oklahoma that evening.  The crowd left the stadium feeling optimistic for Super Tuesday results.

Although Sanders didn’t do as well as expected on Super Tuesday, his campaign is far from over. There are dozens of other northern states where Sanders can take the lead against Clinton in the coming months. News outlets are also prematurely reporting pledged delegates rather than the actual delegates each candidate has. This inflates the lead Clinton has on Sanders, swaying potential voters toward Clinton so they ‘don’t waste their vote.’

Even if Clinton does win the democratic nomination, Sanders has still significantly shaped this presidential race and future ones. His campaign has grown tremendously over the last several months, setting a precedent for the Democratic Party to follow. No matter what happens, Sanders’ success shows that the American people are ready for a new kind of president.

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