Evidently, 10,999 other Tucsonans had the same idea on Friday, Oct. 9—go see what this Bernie Sanders is all about. Sanders was in town for a campaign stop, just having received a congressional endorsement from Congressman Raul Grijalva, who introduced the Vermont senator. It was, in many ways, a typical Tucson progressive gathering explaining our own home-grown values: immigration reform, keeping undocumented families together, protecting the religious and land rights of the Apache at Oak Flat and more.
However, while I stood there with my family, it was obvious that this is something more. In fact, Sanders has been attracting record crowds at campaign stops across the country. Yet, political junkies—Democrats and Republicans—all say Sanders can't win this presidential race. I know folks who show up at this particular record-breaking rally of an estimated 11,000 people (7,000 were anticipated by the campaign) who are Hillary Clinton supporters, yet they wanted to hear what Sanders had to say. It was, as our blogger David Safier wrote on The Range, one of the widest cross-section of people he'd ever seen at such a gathering. Safier's blog post, which deftly captured the nature and spirit of the event, is in this week's print edition (But you can find the story here).
It's too early for the Tucson Weekly to issue endorsements on this campaign, but I can say the evening was striking and I heard ideas from Sanders that I've been wanting to hear from a candidate for a long time. It was inspiring. Yes, the political junkies are right—this is a difficult road for Sanders. But not for the reasons you think—not the media, not the corporate interests and not anything that targets Sanders as a socialist from the other candidates. Nope. What Sanders has going against him are the 11,000 people who showed up on Friday and the thousands of others who've showed up in other cities: voters.
— Mari Herreras, firstname.lastname@example.org