By Jason KUROSU
As Barack Obama’s second term winds down, supporters for the prospective 45th President of the United States have begun campaigning for their candidates, including recent support in Glendale for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.
The local chapter of Sanders’s campaign effort, Glendale for Bernie, set up shop outside the Glendale Community College campus Tuesday morning in anticipation of the Democratic primaries in June.
Glendale for Bernie lead organizer Dionne Lignan hopes to turn the event, Bernie Connections over Coffee, into a weekly affair at the Coffee Bean outside GCC. With much of Sanders’s voter base expected to come from the younger demographic, a regular post at a college campus was a natural choice.
In addition to flyers and other information on Sanders, the group brought voter registration forms and plans to distribute more over the coming months to the college’s newly eligible voters.
Toni Vian, who came from Silverlake to join the Glendale organizers, said, “We definitely want to encourage younger voters, especially since youth turnout is so low at the polls.”
Sanders’s supporters expect that many of his policies should be considered relevant by younger voters, such as an increased minimum wage, free tuition, the slashing of student loan interest rates and tackling income inequality.
Lignan said Sanders has not been getting much exposure in the mainstream media, and what little he has portrays him as unelectable. But she has noticed awareness increasing while she campaigned in Montrose and La Crescenta over the past six months.
“At first, when people drove by, I could see them looking at our signs and I could read their lips saying ‘Who is Bernie?’” Lignan recalled.
But she said the tide is turning.
A recent statewide poll by Field Research Corporation, which conducts public opinion research, showed that 47% of Democratic voters in California prefer Hillary Clinton, with 35% preferring Sanders. Though he still trails Clinton, the October numbers are a marked contrast from polls conducted in February and May of this year, which had Clinton boasting nearly seven times the support of Sanders statewide.
As far as what Sanders brings to the table that Hillary Clinton does not, Lignan said that Clinton is “another corporate politician. It’s time to break the cycle.”
Volunteers Shawn Bhakta and Ed Landis spent the morning handing out flyers to students crossing the bridge over Cañada Boulevard and asking for any volunteers to call registered voters in the ever important states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Landis, who lives in Vernon, said that he decided to work with Glendale for Bernie because it was the most active Sanders campaign group he’d encountered.
Those interested in volunteering can attend two upcoming events that Glendale for Bernie will be on hand for, both of which will be attended by Zack Exley, former chief revenue officer of Wikimedia and a member of Sanders’s campaign team.
These events include one at Ahrya Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills Saturday and another at the Laemmle in North Hollywood on Sunday.
The deadline for voter registration is May 23. The Presidential Primary Election is June 7.