Approximately 15,000 people turned out at Safeco field to see Bernie speak the day before Washington's caucus. Alex Garland
"When I was a kid I had a dream of being on the home plate of a major league ball park, but I didn't know I'd be giving a speech" said Bernie Sanders, fulfilling the presumptive dream of nearly every postmodern Jewish-American novelist.
Following his opening line, Sanders gave the same exact speech he gave at Key Arena last week. A couple people I spoke with after the rally said they were bummed about the overlap, but the Bern was still strong with them. It is, after all, a very good speech. Unlike the stump speech he was bellowing when he came to Seattle last fall, this new speech is structured around "listening," and it has Bernie fully embracing his adorable/humorous Jewish granddad schtick.
Sanders spoke an hour after he was scheduled to, this reporter wildly and probably falsely speculates, because he was still recovering from his vicious Purim hangover. In the meantime the crowd of roughly 15,000 was informed and entertained by a bevy of Seattle luminaries, including Kshama Sawant, Tacocat, and John Popper. Warmed by their $9 hot dogs and beer, the crowd cheered on.
ICYMI, here's photos of the rally and a play by play:
The line to get inside the stadium was insanely long. After hopping off the light rail at Stadium Station (!!!) it took me 10 minutes to find the end of the line, which was at about 2nd and King St. Alex Garland
"The Taco, Cat, Band," as Bernie referred to them, opened for Bernie. Singer Emily Nokes began the set by saying "This song is called 'Hey Girl' and it's about street harassment." They also played "Crimson Wave" and their new single, "I Hate the Weekend." The stage set-up forced the band to play with their backs to the audience, but they adjusted accordingly. Alex Garland
Local actor, Jessica Severance, said "Bernie wants the arts to flourish." It was the first time I'd heard a pro-Bernie speech that included support for the arts. As mayor of Burlington, VT, Bernie established the Mayor's Arts Council, which has the mission to “make the arts available to all, regardless of social, economic or physical constraints." Alex Garland
This guy danced. Our photographer, Alex Garland, told me this guy dances like this at all the Bernie rallies. When he finally got on jumbotron, though, he got shy!
Kshama Sawant vocalized her support for Bernie, saying that his campaign was all about throwing out the rule book of corporate donors. She warned against the "swamp of racism" in the US, from which Trump has emerged, and threw shade at Hillary Clinton for taking big bucks from Wall St. donors. Basically, Kshama did Kshama and it was great. Alex Garland
As the crowd grew, a pattern began to emerge: whiteness. Alex Garland
John Popper of the Blues Travelers sang "The Hook" and "Run-Around," before performing a moving rendition of the national anthem on harmonica. This happened:
The Sanders campaign is inclusive of all types of Americans, even and especially plush pink bears. Alex Garland
When Bernie spoke, he gave his new-ish "This campaign is listening to..." stump speech. He knocked over a bottle of water when he threw up his hands to "release" the speeches he didn't give to Wall St. Alex Garland
When Bernie said, "We owe the Native American community more than we can repay," this woman, and the rest of the crowd, went wild. Alex Garland
Here's what 15,000K looks like in a baseball field that seats 47K. 15K people came to see Bernie last fall, 15K came to see him at Key Arena. 15K came to see him at the ball field. Though he didn't sell out Safeco, I don't think speaking there was a bad bet. If people DID fill a baseball stadium, one of America's only true temples, Bernie would have created an immortal campaign moment. If he didn't, he would only perpetuate the narrative that his political revolution isn't as big as he says it is, which people already think. Alex Garland
Bernie closed his speech by saying, "If there is a large voter turnout tomorrow, we will win. If there's a small one, we will lose." Then, Bowie's "Starman" played. Alex Garland
Now go caucus! Our endorsements are here, if you're still trying to decide.