Bernie Sanders rally packs Grant Park

Congressman+Chuy+Garcia+endorses+presidential+candidate+Sen.+Bernie+Sanders+in+front+of+a+large+crowd+in+Grant+Park+on+Saturday%2C+March+7.+%0ABelow%3A+A+supporter+waits+for+Sanders+to+take+the+stage+%28left%29+and+a+young+attendee+gets+a+better+view+atop+his+father%E2%80%99s+shoulders+%28right%29.+

Jonathan Aguilar | The DePaulia

Congressman Chuy Garcia endorses presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders in front of a large crowd in Grant Park on Saturday, March 7. Below: A supporter waits for Sanders to take the stage (left) and a young attendee gets a better view atop his father’s shoulders (right).

Sen. Bernie Sanders came to Chicago on March 7 to gain supporters before the March 17 Illinois primary. Sanders told his supporters at the Grant Park campaign rally that he is the candidate to beat the presidential incumbent, Republican Donald Trump.

He called Trump a “pathological liar,” criticized his handling of the coronavirus, his denial of climate change and stated that Trump has “apparently never read the Constitution.”

As the campaign narrowed to two Democratic front-runners, Sanders said of his contender, former Vice President Joe Biden, “Joe Biden and I are friends.” He continued, “It is important for the American people, the people of Illinois, to understand the differences between us in terms of our record, in terms of our vision for the future.”

He discussed campaign points like Medicare for All, socialized college tuition, nationwide legalization of marijuana and prison reform — the same statements from his presidential run in 2016.

Sanders’ speech resonated with many of his supporters. The Chicago Tribune reported that there were at least 10,000 in attendance.

“He was extremely inclusive in every statement he made during his speech,” said Emma Melendez, a DePaul junior. “[For example], Native Americans in the statistics about mass incarceration when they’re so often left out of it.”

“It was really amazing to see the diversity of people that came out,” Melendez said. “Most shockingly was people that I would never have expected to vote for Bernie, like older white men.”

Carlos Luna, a DePaul alumnus and Green Card Veterans president, an advocacy group for deported veterans, said he supports Sanders “because he, unlike the former vice president, has an extensive voting record, putting him on the right side of history.”

Luna said Biden has been harmful for vulnerable communities.

“My work with incarcerated and deported veterans has shown me how devastating Biden’s career work has been for veterans and communities of color,” he said.

Illinois has 184 delegates, including 155 pledged delegates and 29 superdelegates. The state has been a major focus in presidential campaigning since Super Tuesday because it is among the remaining states with the highest delegate counts.