Bernie Sanders Draws Small, Spirited Crowd in San Jose

Bernie Sanders broke away from the California Democratic Party confab in San Francisco over the weekend to make a campaign stop in San Jose. The Vermont senator was one of 14 Democratic presidential hopefuls in the Bay Area this past weekend, but the only one who made a detour to the South Bay.

Roughly 2,500 people on descended on the Arena Green for the Saturday evening rally, a small but enthusiastic gathering that watched a lineup of speakers including Sanders’ campaign co-chairs Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna and Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen as well as actor Donald Glover and philosopher Dr. Cornel West.

People in the crowd chanted, “Bernie!” as Sanders took the stage to tout his message of economic equity, universal healthcare, free college and living wages for every American.

“Sounds like you all are ready for a political revolution,” Sanders said as the crowd roared in excitement. “This is a campaign and a future government that will end what Trump has done with his racism, sexism, homophobia and religious bigotry.”

Sanders vowed to end the greed that he believes has pervaded the insurance, financial and pharmaceutical industries as well as the military industrial complex.

“This campaign is going to transform this country and create a dichotomy and government that would work for all of us—not just the 1 percent,” he said.

The self-described democratic socialist said Americans working 40 hours a week shouldn’t struggle to make ends meet and should have adequately affordable healthcare.

“I know a little bit about living paycheck to paycheck because that’s the family I grew up in,” he said. “All over this country, people are scared to death living under enormous anxiety maybe their kids will get sick, maybe they will end up in the hospital. They have no idea in the world how they are going to pay those bills.”

Sander called out specific corporations—Amazon and Walmart—for paying low wages, and said he’d be going to Walmart’s corporate headquarters this week to pressure the company to up its worker compensation.

“The Walton family ... is worth $175 billion,” Sanders said as the audience booed his mention of the name. “And yet, that family pays its workers wages that are so low that many of those workers are forced to go to food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing. And who pays for those workers food stamps and Medicaid?”

“We do,” the crowd replied.

Attendees who spoke to San Jose Inside applauded the candidate’s consistency and persistence in proclaiming his message about a more equitable future.

“Bernie is sane,” said Erica Chapin, a Santa Cruz resident who carried a “Bernie” placard alongside her granddaughter. “He walks the walk. The financial inequality and the racism that Trump has set loose in this country is abhorrent. Bernie is the antidote. He is doing this for others, not for himself.”

Thomas Zakrajsek, of San Jose, agreed.

“Bernie is the only candidate that is fighting for the rights of all people,” he said. “He is trying to get the money to flow back down to the most vulnerable people.”

As a transgender person, Chris Falcone said Sanders’ message of justice for all communities is especially resonant. “All the other progressives have forgotten about us and the Trump administration seems to hate us quite a bit,” Falcone said. “Sanders sticks up for us when nobody else will.”

From the podium, West praised Sanders as a visionary and Glover read the 1936 Langston Hughes poem “Let America be America Again.” Khanna decried what he sees as a media bias against his preferred candidate.

“The media does not understand Bernie Sanders,” he said. “They describe this as a campaign of anger and frustration. This is a campaign of redeeming the promise of this country: a country that believes we can honor the dignity of every single human being.”

All photos by Nicholas Chan.

Nicholas Chan is a journalist who covers politics, culture and current events in Silicon Valley. Follow him on Twitter at @nicholaschanhk.


  1. It should be clear for the far left democrats, Bernie does not represent the spirit of the democrats that are already sending monthly cash donation to only one candidate. Biden came and all the sudden JEWISH TRAITOR BERNIE SANDERS Is gone from “star” status. I am supporting Kamala Harris. She will be dominated because she represent the issues and concerns of bipartisan importance. She is running for president of all not just democrats. If my option for a president is Bernie or Trump, I will just stay home. VOTE for KAMALA HARRIS California female President of the United States!

    • Kamala is Bipartisan???? Oh that’s right she represents both the Communist party and the Old Socialist./Democrat party.
      Biden came along and Burney is a lost Jewish traded? Last pole I saw still had Burney in second place and over Harris 3/1. Felix it time to take your reality pills.

    • I am very, very anti-Bernie, but your charged emphasis of his Jewish identity is highly disturbing.

      Kamala is bipartisan only in the sense that her opposition to free trade makes her unpalatable to neoliberals and her “cop” experience makes her unpalatable to socialists. My take is that she has no path forward in the primary, although her debate performances good determine whether or not she is considered as a VP candidate.

      I am supporting Buttigieg, but will possibly switch to Biden if it becomes necessary for the anti-Bernie voters to unite behind a candidate later on in the primary. If it comes down to Bernie vs Trump, I’ll squeeze my nose shut and vote for Sanders. But it would feel like getting liberated from Nazi Germany by the Soviet Union.

      • I proclaime my opposition to Jewish traitor Bernie who sided with anti-Semite Ilhan Omar and her supporters. I am a Jew, and I approve this message! SHALOM!

        • You’ve explicitly referred to yourself on these forums as a Christian, so claiming now that you’re a Jew does not seem honest or appropriate.

          • You appear to know very little about the Jews. Yes, we are the Jews that have accepted Yeshua as our messiah. There are different denominations of Christian Jews. One has headquarters in San Francisco. Mine has headquarters in San California but we are in every major city in the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, Madrid, Italy, Philippines, Jerusalem…we are Christians and also practice Jews tradition. Jewish people are everywhere. We are Abraham’ children as many as the starts in the sky. This was the plan. I do not have to prove to you I am Jew. The God of Israel is my lord and Yeshua my messiah. We have services Saturdays and do not eat pork… BERNIE SANDERS IS A JEWISH TRAITOR!

  2. > VOTE for KAMALA HARRIS California female President of the United States!

    Still not getting a reading on the enthus-o-meter.

    Kamala gets the same rating as a kale and zucchini salad.

    The only thing that people seem to know about her is that she grab Willie Brown’s willie.

    • MMM…that sounds like a great start of a meal! GO KAMALA…slowly but surely…this is a persistence and resistance run. You are the most prepared for it! VOTE KAMALA!

      • > MMM…that sounds like a great start of a meal!

        News bulletin, FEXXY. No one really likes kale.

        It’s just fake virtue signalling behavior to try to convince the vegan crowd that you’re one or them.

        • Just a weird fact. Before it became a superfood, the largest purchaser of Kale was Pizza hut. It was decoration for their salad bar.

  3. Marxist Senator Schmuck is a waste of your political time.
    President Trump’s successful America-centric policies make him a shoo-in for a 2nd term. Bravo! /Lonewolf

  4. > Roughly 2,500 people on descended on the Arena Green for the Saturday evening rally, a small but enthusiastic gathering that watched a lineup of speakers including . . . .

    5,000 Bernie supporters would have come out for the rally if Trump had been there!

    Of course, they would have been overwhelmed by the 25,000 Trump supporters.

    • Roughly 2,500 people descended on the Arena Green for Bernie? –hilarious!
      …because 2.500 would have been standing outside an already-packed arena for the President.

    • you support medicare for all? Who will pay for it? College tuition for all students? Who will pay for it? 52% income tax? Do you really want to give half of your salary away? Bernie didn’t, he said it himself.

  5. Hay Burney, how about doubling my SSI, and giving me a new Tesla model S, as S stands for Socialism! and it’s Green

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