Bernie Sanders Draws Huge L.A. Crowd, Sarah Silverman

Sanders Los Angeles (Ringo H.W. Chu / Associated Press)
Ringo H.W. Chu / Associated Press

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) packed the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena to capacity on Monday for a fiery speech in which he decried the “rigged” American economy and called for a “grassroots political revolution.”

The presidential contender and self-described socialist reportedly spoke for about an hour at the rally, touching on populist messages he has spoken about at length during his campaign like income inequality, racism, free public university tuition and campaign finance reform, according to Variety.

“This is an economy which is rigged, designed to benefit people at the top,” Sanders said. “We need an economy that works for all people.”

A line began forming outside the Sports Arena three hours before Sanders was scheduled to speak, according to the Los Angeles Times, which live-blogged the event. In his speech, Sanders said 27,000 people attended the rally, while a spokesman for the campaign told Variety that the arena holds 17,500. Audio of the candidate’s speech was reportedly piped over a loudspeaker for those who couldn’t get in the building.

“We have a message for the billionaire class, and that message is you can’t have it all,” Sanders said, while the thousands in attendance repeatedly chanted “Bernie!”

Though Sanders was interrupted and ultimately forced from the stage at a Seattle rally last week by #BlackLivesMatter protesters, the candidate reportedly allowed a BLM activist to open his rally in Los Angeles.

“There is no president that will fight harder to end institutional racism,” the candidate promised.

Sanders was also introduced at the rally by liberal comedian Sarah Silverman, according to Variety and local news.

“His moral compass and sense of values inspires me,” Silverman told the crowd. “He always seems to be on the right side of history. It takes a very brave and very empathetic and very visionary person to do that.”

“Where other candidates are getting gigantic sums of money from billionaires, in exchange for compromising things, Bernie is not for sale,” she added.

Earlier in the day, Sanders was in Oakland for a smaller rally and speech in front of several hundred nurses from National Nurses United, the largest organization of nurses in the Unites States with over 185,000 members. Sanders picked up a key endorsement from the group over rival Democrat presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

Unlike his last trip out west, Sanders did not fundraise on this three-state trip. Instead, the candidate reportedly drew tens of thousands out to big rallies, including 12,000 in Seattle on Saturday night and 19,000 in Portland Sunday night.

Clinton was in Los Angeles last week, where she attended a public roundtable at Los Angeles Trade Technical College before heading to a fundraiser at the home of manager Scooter Braun, whose clients include Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.


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