Sanders Supporters Optimistic as he Surges in Polls, Earns Endorsements

TRNN speaks to two Sanders supporters in Baltimore who say the Democratic candidate has earned their trust based on policies that would improve their lives

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JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is making surprising gains in the Democratic race. With the Iowa caucus just two weeks away, polls show Sanders either neck and neck or ahead of his primary competitor, Hillary Clinton. However, he remains the underdog and faces an uphill battle in the upcoming months.

To discuss all of this we caught up with two of his supporters, who the Real News met during Sanders’ visit to Baltimore last month. I talked to Louise and Milly Isa about their support for Sanders, and started off by asking why his focus on inequality and the promise of more jobs resonates with them.

They said the weak Baltimore job market makes agitating for better working conditions extremely challenging.

LOUISE ISA: If you stay you’re still suffering through it. But then, like, you’re not moving anywhere. So I mean, ultimately it either doesn’t, just stays not getting better, or you, you just get pushed out.

NOOR: Underlining their economic concerns, they also talked about racial inequities that often manifest themselves in the workplace.

MILLY ISA: You know, every, every level you move up to, the more and more people stop looking like you, and the more and more that they don’t understand you, or your needs aren’t incorporated in the decisions that they make. And it’s, it’s frustrating. It feels like you’re fighting a losing battle sometimes.

NOOR: With Sanders surging in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, he’s received more media coverage.

M. ISA: It’s great. Now everybody’s going to be able to see how consistent he is, and they’re going to be able to see a great comparison, or a contrast between him and Hillary.

NOOR: This has put Hillary Clinton on the offensive. She recently attacked Sanders’ plan for universal healthcare coverage, saying it would result in increasing taxes on the middle class.

M. ISA: The more anti- he gets, everybody will realize that what Hillary’s saying isn’t necessarily true. You can go to Bernie’s website and he’ll list out where he’s getting money from. A lot of times he’s going to raise taxes on the, the wealthiest who make, who stop getting taxed over $250,000. You know, he’s not, like, for a lot of things–and I know, like, what is it. Like, the parental leave, I think. Maternal leave.

L. ISA: Oh, my gosh, yes.

M. ISA: He’s–no, he’s just going to add an extra $1.60-something on a payroll tax. And that doesn’t come out of anyone’s pocket. That’s just weekly. And that’ll cover that. Like, a lot of things, all his ideas, isn’t affecting us. It’s affecting those who make more than us.

NOOR: Sanders has also picked up several big endorsements, including the Nation magazine, and the progressive group MoveOn.org.

M. ISA: It’s not, like, the same old. It’s not the same old people. It’s like, like the actresses, like Killer Mike, like MoveOn, like the national–it’s just, just people are realizing that they have an option, and this option is going to, you know, is going to win, and change our lives for the better.

NOOR: They say their support for Sanders is more based on the policy he supports than President Obama, who they also supported during his presidential campaigns.

L. ISA: When Obama ran we had hope that things would get better. We knew that he–like, whatever he was talking about didn’t directly resonate too well with me–like, but I, I saw some things that I wanted to see happen, you know, that he listed. And he was an option, so I voted for him. With Bernie, everything in my being connects with this man. Please. He just has to win.

NOOR: They argue because he does not take money from large corporations, nor does he have a super PAC, he can be beholden to his voters rather than moneyed interests.

L. ISA: Because he’s getting his money from the people he’s representing. Us.

M. ISA: So, like, he doesn’t owe anything to anyone but the people that voted for him. The people that were supporting him. And the people who are supporting him believe in what he’s doing.

NOOR: Although they do expect opposition to Sanders from within the Democratic party on issues like taking on the wealthy elite and going after Wall Street, they say the party will have to come around.

M. ISA: I think, I think there’ll be hurdles for him, for sure. But I think, I think that the people he’s rallying, we have enough people, enough voices to, to just hush the, the Democratic party. And it’s like, it’s not about what they want, it’s about what the people want.

L. ISA:Yeah. And I mean, I think even if they oppose it in the beginning, they’re going to come around.

NOOR: And they dismissed the notion that supporting Sanders will blunt long-term social movements demanding racial and economic justice.

L. ISA: No, because he’s fighting with us.

M. ISA: Yeah. Yeah, he’s definitely fighting with us. And I think, like, for us, like, this is–this is a, these are, like, strong issues. You’re not just going to give up. You can’t just be, like, oh, Bernie won. Everybody, like, take a break. It’s like, no, because you’re still experiencing it every single day of your life.

NOOR: Sanders could gain more minority support as he receives more airtime due to his rising poll numbers.

M. ISA: Like, people just don’t know about Bernie. They don’t have the access to him like we do.

L. ISA: And that’s why I think they cut him off, or try not to air him on TV. Because they know once he’s heard, that’s it.

M. ISA: Yeah. Because, like, because I–like, our mom, she’s for Hillary.

L. ISA: She was.

M. ISA: She was for Hillary. And the hardest thing was convincing her and teaching her about Bernie, and that took a long time.

L. ISA: It didn’t even come from us, her change. It came from TV.

M. ISA: It came from TV. So yeah, I’m very helpful. We were very helpful.

NOOR: If Sanders is to lose the primary, they say Clinton will need to adopt more practical policies and proposals, such as restoring the Red Line, cut by Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. He would have connected residents from disinvested communities in Baltimore with more employment opportunities.

L. ISA: If Hillary can get us back our Red Line, I will consider voting for her.

M. ISA: Yeah, Hillary. Yeah, give us back our, our Red Line. You’ve got to give us something.

NOOR: For the Real News, this is Jaisal Noor in Baltimore.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.