The 2020 Democratic presidential primary continues to heat up, even with the general election over a year and a half away at this point. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) held a campaign kickoff rally this weekend at Brooklyn College, and in an impressive showing of his grassroots support, he attracted a sizable crowd estimated at around 13,000 to 15,000 people, even though the high temperature in Brooklyn today was only 40 degrees. Some on hand compared the event to his 2016 rallies, which propelled him to national recognition. Local journalist Steve Kastenbaum said that “every corner” of the venue was “filled” with Sanders supporters by the time speeches rolled around.
As we got closer to the start of the speeches the crowd grew in size. Every corner of the Brooklyn College quad is filled with Bernie Sanders supporters, thousands here now, reminiscent of his 2016 appearances. Reports on @WestwoodOneNews https://t.co/bBFompPYfv
— Steve Kastenbaum (@SKastenbaum) March 2, 2019
The event included speakers focusing on the Senator’s decades of work supporting progressive causes, besides Sanders himself.
Watch him speak:
Check out images and a video of the rally crowd:
Sen. Sanders drew a crowd of nearly 13,000 at his Brooklyn launch today, according to a senior aide. pic.twitter.com/qWGvTjcttR
— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) March 2, 2019
— Alex Acaro (@AlexAcaroNY) March 2, 2019
Big crowd at Bernie’s 2020 kick off at Brooklyn College. It’s absolutely packed. pic.twitter.com/sle827eBws
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) March 2, 2019
This is just some of the crowd at Brooklyn College, where Sen. Bernie Sanders is going to kick off his presidential campaign. I was there for him 3 years ago and I’m twice as much for him now. #runbernierun #BernieInBrooklyn #Bernie2020 pic.twitter.com/dvNlfz68ZZ
— KremlinonthePotomac (@jurassicpork59) March 2, 2019
There are other available indicators of his impressive stance in the field, even this early in the race. Within just a few hours of formally announcing his candidacy, he raised over $1 million, and he hit $6 million within a little more than a day of formally announcing his latest presidential bid, eclipsing others ranging from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
Ironically, crowd size could easily be a widely spread talking point in the lead-up to 2020 thanks in no small part to President Donald Trump, the eventual opponent for whoever wins the Democratic nomination. In a recent talk with The New York Times, he praised Harris for garnering an impressive crowd at her kickoff rally in Oakland, which hosted some 10,000 people with some 12,000 packed outside the venue.
At a recent rally in El Paso, Texas, the president spoke of potential 2020 opponents’ crowd size again, suggesting that former Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke only attracted a crowd of hundreds of people for his rally against Trump’s border wall proposal that was going on at the same time. In reality, he attracted thousands, just like Trump.
O’Rourke hasn’t announced a presidential bid, but he earned himself a national profile with his bid to unseat Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz that although ultimately unsuccessful, left the Senator ahead by a surprisingly thin margin in final vote counts.
In the meantime, Sanders even enjoys high marks in polls. Continuing on with past trends, Sanders scored more support than any other potential or already declared Democratic presidential candidate in a recent poll of New Hampshire voters. He had 26 percent of the support, while former Vice President Joe Biden (who has not announced a presidential bid at this point) managed 22 percent of the support — and no other candidate had more than ten.
Sanders has enjoyed continued national prominence in the time since his initial ultimately unsuccessful 2016 bid against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Many of his proposals, like a universal health care system summarized as “Medicare-for-all,” have been adopted by much of the Democratic mainstream.
He is casting himself this time around as the people’s candidate, interested not just in activism or being anti-Trump but in “transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice,” as he put it in his campaign announcement.
Featured image via screenshot from the video