Los Angeles Times
Sanders calls on voters in 49th
Senator recalls 2016 run as he rallies in Southland for Mike Levin and others.
Sen. Bernie Sanders urges an Oceanside audience to vote as a check on Trump.
Sen. Bernie Sanders praised California for embracing the progressive ideals he championed in 2016 in places much like the college campus where he campaigned Friday for more than a dozen Southern California candidates.
“Three years ago, $15 minimum wage and a union seemed like a radical idea. Today, it is spreading right here in California,” he said at MiraCosta College in Northern San Diego County. “Thank you, California.”
The independent Vermont senator’s appearance was part of a nine-state campaign-style swing that extends his 2016 presidential bid and catapults him toward an expected reprise run in 2020. Though he fell short in 2016, Sanders gave prominence to several issues — income inequality, universal healthcare, student debt — that continue to resonate in this year’s election.
Sanders recalled his 2016 campaign and named another politician who tends to reminisce about past elections, calling President Trump “a pathological liar.” “He says one thing today and something very different tomorrow,” Sanders said.
He encouraged the young voters in the Oceanside audience alongside union members and others to cast their votes in the midterm election as a check on Trump.
“Brothers and sisters, a week from Tuesday will be the most important midterm election, perhaps in the history of our country, and that election will determine whether or not Donald Trump continues to do his things unchecked by either the House or the Senate. We cannot allow that to happen. Please, in the next week, do everything you can do bring your friends to vote.”
Sanders appeared alongside Mike Levin, the Democratic nominee for California’s 49th Congressional District; state Sen. Kevin de León, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein; and a dozen progressive candidates running for district-, county- and state-level seats.
Levin was the only candidate Sanders mentioned by name, praising him as a champion of working families. He is one of the seven Democrats seeking to flip a Republican-held district and help the party gain a majority in the House.
Levin, among the Southern California Democrats targeting GOP-held congressional seats, painted a dark future if the students in the gymnasium don’t vote Nov. 6: “You stay home on election day, and Republicans stay in charge, and your healthcare gets taken away and your student loans become more impossible to pay off.… You feel more unseen, more unheard. Your faith in your country dims.
“I’d like to offer you a very different future. In this one, you take the time to vote and you get your friends to vote, and we flip the House,” he said, gesturing at the crowd. “Suddenly government is fighting to protect your healthcare and your environment. Government is valuing your education and helping you to manage those onerous student loans. Government suddenly becomes a lot less corrupt and a lot more humane.”
An overflow crowd at the event hosted by California Young Democrats, open to registered voters, was treated to a brief speech by Sanders before he went on to address the crowd inside.
Sanders hasn’t always had success transferring his continued popularity within the party’s left wing to other candidates. But in Florida, his support helped lift Democrat Andrew Gillum to an upset primary win in August in the governor’s race.
Elsewhere, however, many Sanders-backed candidates have fallen short and his campaign spinoff, Our Revolution, has not been the force for progressive advocacy its adherents had hoped.
Sanders heads north next, finishing his campaign swing on Saturday in Berkeley alongside Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee, who announced in July that she would seek to lead the Democratic Caucus.