Sanders supporters: "We feel the Bern in Springfield"
SPRINGFIELD – Thousands of supporters stood in line for several hours at Missouri State University Saturday awaiting Bernie Sanders.
Meet the crowd
Saturday’s crowd drew in people of all ages and backgrounds.
One grandmother said she attended the rally to introduce her granddaughter to the world of politics and felt Sanders was the perfect candidate to showcase.
Other families, including one four-year-old boy who said he's been waiting "all his life" to see Sanders, gathered to support Sanders and his advocacy for the American working class.
“The energy in there was incredible, it was really worth coming out,” Sanders' Supporter Christina McCarthy said. “It’s really amazing to hear a presidential candidate talk about things that really matter to me as a young voter.”
It is no secret Sanders is an attractive candidate for youth, but some are skeptical of whether or not this age demographic will actually go to the polls.
“Some kids my age don’t really seem to care about the direction our country is going,” 20-year-old Springfield Resident Austin Venhuizen said.
Sanders took the stage for his "A Future to Believe In" rally and said his campaign is about listening to all Americans, especially young adults.
"We can’t go forward as a nation unless we have the courage to look reality in the face and not sweep it under the carpet,” Sanders said.
Sanders highlighted on a number of issues ranging from the need for an improved foreign trading policy to the American “rigged economy.”
Topics like raising the minimum wage and making free tuition for public colleges available to students were some discussion points that made the crowd go wild.
“People are working for slave wages in Missouri but what people really need is a working wage,” Sanders said.
Sanders even went after Missouri’s Walton family, saying they are the definition of oligarchy. He said the top one-tenth of the one percent almost owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent and the Walton's are a shining example of this corruption.
He also said Walmart doesn’t pay their employees enough money which results in workers relying on food stamps and other government assistance.
“And who pays for that?” Sanders said. The crowd responded with an abrupt: “We do.”
There was no rush to leave the arena, in fact fans staked out after the speech to cheer Sanders to his car.
“Everything he said about minorities and women and climate change was all very inspirational,” local resident Michaela Kershaw said.
Other supporters said they wish he would have addressed secondary education instead of just higher education.
Many Sanders critics call him Santa Claus because of his attempts to be the “nice guy” and give gifts to all, which leaves some concerned about funding and attainability.
Sanders said his ideas aren't that radical and that the world is changing so ideas should transform along with it.
“You can run a winning national campaign without being dependent on corporate America,” he said.
Sanders said he hopes to win Missouri’s primary election on Tuesday.