Bernie Sanders speaks to hundreds at Our Revolution rally in Boston. (Chris Romano/Connector)
Despite being a stormy night with a mix of rain, snow and hail, Senator Bernie Sanders’ organization, Our Revolution, held a rally at the Orpheum Theater in Boston.
The rally, held on Friday, was meant to highlight local activist groups as well as campaign for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s reelection as Massachusetts’ U.S. Senator.
As Warren took to the stage, the supporters in the crowd chanted her name. She began her time on stage with a story of how she met Sanders at a dinner in Washington D.C. She said, “Bernie Sanders fights for what is right and he fights from the heart. That’s how we win,” when referring to the 2018 election.
Warren knew how to get a reaction from the crowd. Before she could finish her sentence about defeating the American Health Care Act that was introduced to replace the Affordable Care Act, the crowd exploded with applause. She mentioned that President Donald Trump said he would repeal Obamacare on day one of his presidency, but that he did not do it. There was another roar from the crowd.
The main message she offered was that the people of America must continue to fight back against Trump and the Republicans. She mentioned several times that Trump was not the only enemy. Instead, she said that Trump and all the Republicans were the peoples’ enemy.
Trump is merely a distraction. She said: “We can’t shoot at everything that moves,” after reminding the crowd that Trump says obscene things to distract from actual issues.
Most of Warren’s speech focused on a progressive agenda. At times there were digs against Donald Trump, but she seemed to hone in on campaigning for reelection in 2018. She praised public school teachers and unions. “Unions built America’s middle class,” she said. She finished by mentioning climate change, Black Lives Matter, believing in science, pay equity for women and that Wall Street needs more regulation.
Sanders took to the stage and immediately began praising Warren. He said, “Our job is to make sure she wins and that she wins big.” The crowd began chanting his name. After the crowd settled, Sanders hit all the big talking points from his 2016 presidential campaign. He talked about the top one percent of the billionaire class and making an economy for all Americans. He said of the billionaire class: “Their greed is destroying the country.”
Next Sanders tackled the Walton family, who owns Walmart and is America’s wealthiest family. He said the Waltons are the largest welfare recipient in America because their employees are on food stamps and other federal aid. He told the Waltons: “Get off of welfare. Start paying your workers a living wage.”
He then said: “52 percent of all new income is going to the top one percent.” The crowd booed.
Sanders briefly mentioned his run for president of the U.S. He thanked the people of Massachusetts for their support. The major point of the speech was Sanders’ take on the 2016 election.
However, before making his remarks, someone shouted: “Bernie 2020!” There was no response from the senator, but a huge roar from the supporters in the crowd. After the interruption, he said: “Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists, sexists, homophobes and just deplorable folks. I don’t agree.”
He then said the most memorable line from the rally: “It wasn’t that Donald Trump won the election. It was that the Democratic Party lost the election.”
Before Warren and Sanders spoke, many local organizations gave opening remarks. Among the groups that appeared on stage were Raise Up, Jobs not Jails and Fight For 15. Some of what Raise Up works on is public school funding, earned sick time and increasing the minimum wage. Jobs Not Jails aims to end mass incarceration. Lastly, Fight For 15’s mission is to raise the minimum wage up to $15 an hour.
The weather was not too unbearable, as the Orpheum was filled with people. At around 7 p.m., performers, the grandchildren of Woodie Guthrie, began to sing politically charged songs along with other songs. Before leaving the stage, they sang what has become as Sanders’ anthem, “This Land Is Your Land.” Senators Sanders and Warren are both up for reelection in 2018.