WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders headlined Thursday’s rally for social justice outside the Senate that featured Hawaiian congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and a number of community organizers. The crowd, which consisted of about 500 people of diverse ages and races, was clearly hoping to see the Vermonter and former Ohio senator Nina Turner. They stoked their Bernie fever, raising a chant of “we believe that will win.”
The rally’s fighting cause was the defeat of the Trans-Pacific-Partnership, and a number of unions, including National Nurses United and the Assossiation of Flight Attendants, had members appear en masse. Bernie, who is technically an Independent but has been recognized as a critical component of the Democrats’ grassroots future, immediately began biting into the Democratic establishment, saying, “It is time for a new direction for the Democratic Party,” and, “There is a lot of pain in America and Capital Hill doesn’t understand; we do.”
Sanders made it clear that he plans to take on Donald Trump in the White House, at one point stating, “Donald Trump is not going to stand up to the establishment. We are. […] We are going to take on the drug companies and fight for trade policies that work for everybody in this country, not just the CEO.” He repeated his stance on the president-elect, that he will be willing to work with Trump, but stated, “There is an area where we will not compromise one iota: we will not compromise on racism, sexism, xenophobia or Islamophobia.” When chants of “Bernie” arose, he strayed from his speech, saying, “This is about us.” And while Trump has tapped into voters who feel ostracized, there are still plenty of people feeling the Bern.