Published: February 4, 2016
Publication: State of Politics
By Nick Reisman
With chants and cheers, the campaign of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders filed tens of thousands of petition signatures in order to gain access to the New York ballot ahead of the state’s April 19 primary.
Nearly 100 or so Sanders supporters picketed and rallied outside of the Board of Elections headquarters in downtown Albany on Thursday just before 15 boxes, eventually stacked in threes, was delivered from a red sport utility vehicle at the curb out front.
“The energy is astounding,” said attorney Arthur Schwartz, the Sanders campaign’s legal counsel in New York and a Democratic candidate for the state Assembly against Democratic incumbent Deborah Glick, into a microphone attached to a bowl horn. “I think what the energy built off was our petitioners were out petitioning and the reports I got were they were greeted with hugs, joy, smiles, honking horns, everywhere they went.”
Sanders faces Hillary Clinton in her adopted home state in April as he surges ahead with his campaign built on young people and liberals who worry about income inequality, the cost of education and climate change.
“He’s been a consistent progressive,” said Allen Roskoff, the president of the Jim Owles Democratic Club, an LGBT organization based in Manhattan. “We believe it’s in his bones.”
Sanders supporters say that he’s been consistent, while Clinton’s views have shifted over the years.
“They’re just very, very different people,” Roskoff said in an interview. “I always moderates for Clinton, progressives Bernie.”
Consistency is a word Sanders supporters at the rally outside of the state’s Board of Elections headquarters used to describe his appeal. But they also believe he can make his platform a reality.
“This is the first time in a really long time we’ve had a consistent, authentic, sincere candidate who speaks the same message throughout his whole career who has a record of accomplishing these things and finding compromise where appropriate,” said Mira Bowin, a Sanders delegate from Ulster County.
Wearing a Sanders sign around neck, Bowin pointed to Sanders’s emphasis on issues ranging from income inequality to climate change as well as LGBT rights.
“He speaks to the real challenges that we face,” she said. “He’s resonating on so many levels because he’s about finding common ground.”
Sanders faces an uphill climb in New York, the adopted home of Clinton, who represented the state in the U.S. Senate for eight years. But Sanders supporters say he shouldn’t be counted out.
“Now they’re saying, you know what, Bernie may actually win this thing,” said Schwartz, the Sanders campaign lawyer. “Bernie’s going to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.”