(Reuters/Brian Snyder)

Berning down the house: Sanders throws massive house party for 100,000 supporters

Supporters “Feel the Bern” at live-streamed house parties in all 50 states


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Sophia Tesfaye
July 30, 2015 2:49pm (UTC)

Bernie Sanders spoke to more than 100,000 supporters across the country Wednesday night during simultaneously broadcasted house parties in support of the Democratic presidential candidate in all 50 states, the New York Times reports.

According to the Sanders campaign, more than 100,000 people had RSVPed to participate in more than 3,500 parties in houses, living rooms and coffee shops across the nation.

In Texas, there was “brisket and biscuits for Bernie," while in Brooklyn, 150 Bernie supporters huddled in a beer garden.

Sanders himself appeared at a modest, packed, and steamy apartment in Southwest Washington, D.C., where he delivered remarks off a yellow legal pad balanced precariously on a wobbly music stand and broadcast simultaneously to every meeting locations in the country, from Alaska to Florida. Sanders first thanked supporters for “for participating in this political revolution,” urging supporters to "talk to your brothers and your sisters, your coworkers, your family members, bring 'em into the movement."

“Tonight is a historical night and all of us are making history,” Sanders said from D.C. “Why are we seeing spontaneous uprisings if you like and meetings in cities and town all over this country? My answer is the American people are saying loudly and clearly, enough is enough.”

The Sanders house party is he largest campaign event of the election season thus far. But the Independent senator knows he'll need an army of volunteers on the ground to beat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and the viewers at the various house parties were asked to volunteer and join a chain of text messages.

"I mean at the end of the day, they will have more money to put more TV ads than we will, that's true. But if we can assemble and get a hundred, hundreds of thousands of people out on the street, you know what? We will win," Sanders said enthusiastically.

“Bernie Sanders alone as president of these United States is not going to solve all these problems,” he explained to his gathered supporters, hitting on familiar targets like the influence of money in politics. "The only way we take on the Koch brothers and take on the billionaire class, and people who have unbelievable money and power, the only we can do that is when we put together a strong grassroots movement of millions and millions of people.”

“And that is what I mean by political revolution, and that is what you are involved in today,” he added, looking into the camera.

Even during this truncated version of his stump speech, Sanders took the time to address police brutality, an issue that has some have argued the Vermont senator has not been adequately addressed. Sanders spoke out against the arrest of Sandra Bland, a 28-year old African-American woman who died in jail after being arrested during a routine traffic stop:

We are tired of seeing black women yanked out of a car thrown to the ground. Assaulted, put in handcuffs and then sent to jail and die three days later in the case of Sandra Bland. For what crime? She didn’t signal.

When Sanders spoke to reporters after the event ended from the packed two-bedroom apartment, where the kitchen sink served as a cooler, and the host made drinks in the hallway, he expressed his surprise with the level of enthusiasm his campaign has garnered nationwide.

“We never dreamed this campaign would move as quickly as it has and in fact part of the problem we are having is the campaign is moving much faster than our political infrastructure,” Sanders said afterwards.

A few months ago, Sanders told the New York Times, he "thought that maybe 1,000 would turn out."


Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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