San­ders draws crowd at Hop­kins

Se­na­tor urges stu­dents to stand firm for democ­racy against mon­eyed in­ter­ests

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND - By Tim Pru­dente The As­so­ci­ated Press con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle. tpru­dente@balt­

Sen. Bernie San­ders, speak­ing Thurs­day evening at the Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity, de­cried what he sees as a shift from democ­racy to an Amer­ica con­trolled by mon­eyed in­ter­ests.

But the independent from Ver­mont, who lost to Hil­lary Clin­ton in the Demo­cratic pri­mary for pres­i­dent, said lit­tle about Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump be­fore a crowd of his fans still smart­ing from last week’s elec­tion de­feat.

Trump, the real es­tate de­vel­oper and re­al­ity tele­vi­sion star, lost the pop­u­lar vote but won the Elec­toral Col­lege and the White House.

“Is that a prob­lem? I think it’s a prob­lem,” San­ders said. “Mary­land is to­tally ir­rel­e­vant. ... Repub­li­can can­di­dates are not go­ing to go there. Demo­cratic can­di­dates are not go­ing to go there. What does that mean for the peo­ple of Mary­land?”

San­ders is pro­mot­ing his new book, “Our Revo­lu­tion: A Fu­ture To Be­lieve In.” The free lec­ture was com­pletely booked min­utes af­ter reser­va­tions opened. Fans waited in line as long as six hours to hear San­ders speak.

San­ders was at Hop­kins as part of the Mil­ton S. Eisen­hower Sym­po­sium, a lec­ture se­ries to present is­sues of lo­cal, na­tional and global im­por­tance.

“This is def­i­nitely the most in­ter­est we’ve re­ceived in years,” said Teddy Kupfer, a Hop­kins se­nior and lec­ture or­ga­nizer. He said the crowd showed that San­ders’ pop­u­lar­ity en­dures.

“If you can draw a con­clu­sion from the 2016 elec­tion, it was there was not a lot of en­thu­si­asm for Hil­lary Clin­ton.”

An es­ti­mated 2,000 peo­ple filled the au­di­to­rium and over­flow rooms. Joshan Ba­jaj, a Hop­kins ju­nior who cam­paigned for San­ders back home in Prince­ton, N.J., was first in line; he showed up at 1 p.m. for the 7 p.m. ap­pear­ance.

“He is def­i­nitely look­ing out for the com­mon man,” Ba­jaj said. “I like his mes­sage of so­cial equal­ity. It’s not so­cial­ism, but I like his more so­cial­ist ideas, like how he wants free col­lege and how he wants a $15 min­i­mum wage.”

Read­ing from his book, San­ders com­pared his cam­paign against “the Clin­ton ma­chine” to the fight of David against Go­liath.

The self-de­scribed Demo­cratic so­cial­ist also blasted the news me­dia for ig­nor­ing is­sues like cli­mate change and poverty.

“You heard 1,000 times more about Mr. Trump’s sex­ual life and Mrs. Clin­ton’s emails,” he said.

The Johns Hop­kins For­eign Af­fairs Sym­po­sium co-spon­sored the event with San­ders.

San­ders, like Trump, cam­paigned on a pop­ulist mes­sage. He sharply crit­i­cized the Demo­cratic es­tab­lish­ment, mil­i­taris­tic for­eign pol­icy and Wall Street greed. He de­cried bur­den­some col­lege-loan debt and eco­nomic poli­cies that he said would leave to­day’s stu­dents less well-off than their par­ents.

San­ders was in­tro­duced Thurs­day as a “rock star in a rum­pled suit.”

The crowd cheered the catch­phrase “Feel the Bern.”

Conor McKenna, a ju­nior who is ma­jor­ing in film, de­scribed him­self as a “ra­bid Bernie fan.”

“In a weird way, I think it’s the same im­pulse that made Bernie so pop­u­lar that elected Don­ald Trump ... they’re ab­so­lutely both pop­ulists,” McKenna said.

He said the po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts who pre­dicted Trump would lose failed to ap­pre­ci­ate how dis­sat­is­fied vot­ers were with the sta­tus quo.

“I do think the deck is stacked un­fairly,” he said.

San­ders held a rally days be­fore the April pri­mary at Royal Farms Arena in Bal­ti­more. Nearly 310,000 Mary­lan­ders voted for him in April. But the state’s Democrats fa­vored Hil­lary Clin­ton, 62.5 to 33.8 per­cent.

San­ders has said he will con­tinue to serve in the Se­nate as an independent, not as a Demo­crat. A stu­dent asked if he would run again for pres­i­dent in 2020.

“This is not what we should be dis­cussing,” San­ders replied. He urged the crowd to fo­cus in­stead on im­por­tant is­sues of the day.

Fans noted, with hope, that he didn’t rule out a run.


Ver­mont Sen. Bernie San­ders ad­dresses his au­di­ence Thurs­day night at the Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity’s Shriver Hall.

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