Shouts of “Feel the Bern” and “Bernie!” echoed throughout a convention center in Upstate New York, where more than 5,000 people gathered at the Oncenter in Syracuse, New York, on Apr. 12 to attend the Bernie Sanders rally.
With the New York State presidential primary less than a week away, presidential candidates are traveling through the state and holding rallies to draw dedicated and potential supporters. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich have made their way through New York along with Sanders.
People of all ages showed up to the Sanders rally in Syracuse. Sanders has been popular among young voters with promises of free public college and healthcare. He has close to 75 percent of the young vote — 18–34 year olds — in New York, according to the Washington Post.
Taylor True, Melissa Halliwell and India Swartwood, high school seniors from Cortland, New York, stood in line and entered the Oncenter with a homemade sign that read, “Feel the Bern.”
“I feel like [Bernie] is the only person that talks about people who are our age versus everyone else, it’s all about adults,” Swartwood said. “I appreciate that.”
The New York primary will take place Tuesday, Apr. 19. According to Real Clear Politics, Sanders is approximately 13 points behind Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in New York. Sanders has made appearances in Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and New York City throughout April to garner more support.
Some political experts are optimistic about Sanders’s success in New York and other highly-populated states, and potentially winning the Democratic nomination.
Jon Fuhrer, the New York State coordinator for the Working Families Party for Bernie Sanders, has been working closely with the Vermont state senator since he began his senate campaign in 2006, holding up his volunteer T-shirt when introducing Sanders in Syracuse. He believes Sanders has a “strong shot” at winning the nomination due to the dedication and energy of his supporters.
“There’s not a candidate in sight that brings out so many people on such short notice or has such enthusiastic supporters who have been doing volunteer work and grassroots organizing for seven, eight months,” Fuhrer said. “You don’t see that from anyone else.”
Don Beachler, an associate professor of politics at Ithaca College, does not believe Sanders has a chance of winning New York, other major states or the Democratic nomination. Beachler believes the media has been falsely portraying Sanders’s momentum and growing support.
“There’s a myth of momentum in primaries because I saw the same thing in 2008 when Obama won 11 in a row and people thought Hillary Clinton wouldn’t win another one,” Beachler said. “If you go through a string of states where the demographics or procedures are favorable to Sanders, it’s not like he has momentum. It’s that he’s doing well in states he would always do well in.”
Beachler also points out that Sanders has done well in states that hold caucuses instead of primaries. Caucuses generally have lower turnouts due to set times that working people and families are not able to attend, but Sanders’s young supporters — particularly college students — are more flexible with the schedules and can attend caucuses if they are motivated to, Beachler said.
Regardless of opinion, Sanders supporters plan to vote on Apr. 19, including True, Halliwell and Swartwood.
“He’s a person for the people,” Halliwell said.
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