Democratic presidential candidate hosts two area rallies, students show support

Bernie Sanders makes rounds in Kansas City area, efforts reflected in caucus results


Griffin Nelson

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke at the Douglas County fairgrounds on March 3, after previously coming through the area on Feb. 24 in Kansas City. “It [the speech] was very strong and he touched on all the topics that matter and should decide this election,” junior Noah Kuzca said. Kuzca, along with other members of LHS’s Young Democrats Club, went to both rallies.

By Zia Kelly

Students rallied behind Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during his two rallies in the Kansas City area, spending hours in line and packed into cramped venues to see his speeches.

Sanders gave his second speech in the area on March 3 at the Douglas County fairgrounds. About 4,200 people from Lawrence and neighboring towns came to watch as Sanders promoted his campaign two days before Super Saturday, when Kansas held its caucus. Sanders won the state’s Democratic caucus overwhelmingly over his opponent Hillary Clinton.

Many students in attendance also saw Sanders speak at Bartle Hall in Kansas City on Feb. 24. Junior Noah Kuzca, a member of the Young Democrats Club, was one of those students.

“It [the speech] was very strong and he touched on all the topics that matter and should decide this election,” he said.

Sanders addressed major topics in his campaign: campaign finance reform, regulating Wall Street, student debt and free college tuition and healthcare, among other things.

Junior Jazmyn McNair volunteered at the event, and said she was most excited to see Sanders address the management of student debt.

Kuzca, on the other hand, said he most looked forward to Sanders addressing the wealth gap.

“[I looked forward to hearing] his [Sanders] demotion of the top 1 percent,” he said. “No one should be that ahead on the majority of people. America is a place of opportunity, but I don’t believe it can be achieved with such a margin between income levels.”

Substitute teacher and KU graduate student Travis Robinett volunteers with the Sanders campaign, and has worked at events in the Midwest.

“I think it’s really important,” he said after the speech. “Since Kansas is a Super Saturday state and he, frankly…After Super Tuesday, needs to start winning states. And Kansas is one that he needs to win, absolutely.”

Super Tuesday, which occurred two days before the rally, did not look promising for Sanders. Sander’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, pulled far ahead by winning a total 1,052 delegates whereas Sanders had 427.

On March 5, Sanders took the state’s nomination with a 68 percent popular vote, and earned 23 of Kansas’ 34 democratic delegates.

Sander’s popularity in Douglas County is largely attributed to his appeal with young voters, who are abundant because of the university. Junior Bridget Smith, who went to both rallies, said that the environment of the speech was impacted by youth voters.

“He is an awesome speaker, and the young crowd that he attracts create a really exciting atmosphere,” she said.