The visit was part of a national book tour in which he dishes out policy prescriptions and details his experiences campaigning for president. More than 900 fans packed a church for the sold-out event in Seattle.
To a welcoming Seattle crowd, Bernie Sanders said Wednesday he’s counting on fans in the deep-blue city to continue his message of a “political revolution” and help reshape the Democratic Party after Donald Trump’s presidential win.
The U.S. senator from Vermont, who amassed crowds of die-hard fans here during his presidential campaign, addressed a group of more than 900 supporters in a University District church in a speech that analyzed Trump’s success, repeated Sanders’ campaign platforms and promoted the senator’s new book, “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.”
“Things are bad. Things have been worse in the past,” he told the crowd of Washington supporters, many of whom were looking for solutions to reconcile political differences. He called on them to “stand up, fight back in effective ways.”
Attendees lined up early for the sold-out event, among them a handful who waited hours to snag a close seat and some of whom traveled from across the Puget Sound area.
For Vikki Anselmo and Celeste Duncan, two friends who attended Wednesday, Sanders’ appearance was part of recovery from what Anselmo called “a disastrous election,” calling it a form of group therapy.
“It’s needed,” said another fan, Bridget Espinola. “There’s no better time.”
In his remarks Wednesday, Sanders applauded Seattle’s path to a $15-an-hour minimum wage and the election of Pramila Jayapal in Washington’s 7th Congressional District as progressive milestones for the country. The senator, 75 — who is up for re-election to the Senate in 2018 and has not ruled out a 2020 run for president — most recently visited the Puget Sound region in October to campaign for her.
“You have so much to be proud of, and what you have done has been heard across the country,” Sanders said of Seattle. “Your job is to be leaders.”
At one point, Sanders drew comparisons between supporters of his campaign and the president-elect’s, saying both groups include workers looking for help with covering health-care costs and student debt, for instance.
The 450-page book, which was released exactly one week after the 2016 election with very few mentions of Trump, dishes out policy prescriptions that match the Brooklyn native’s presidential campaign, while also detailing his experience on the campaign trail.
The book rails against the political establishment, calling the nation’s political system, as well as the media, rigged by corporate interests. It also describes a declining middle class and repeats Sanders’ proposals to move the country’s health-care system to a federally administered, single-payer program and make public colleges and universities tuition-free by imposing a tax on Wall Street speculation.
Many Washington voters supported the underdog candidate before he even won a single caucus or primary. By early March, Seattle ranked No. 1 among the country’s 50 largest cities for per-capita contributions to Sanders’ campaign, according to a Seattle Times analysis.
Later that month, the senator held a handful of Washington rallies — drawing boisterous crowds at Seattle’s Safeco Field and KeyArena, for instance — and then won a landslide victory over Hillary Clinton in the state’s precinct-level caucuses. (Clinton later won the state’s purely symbolic Democratic primary.)
They were among some delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia who garnered attention for not backing Clinton’s nomination, a demonstration in which some booed mentions of her name and made other interruptions.
More recently, at least two Washington state electors, one of whom originally supported Sanders, said they are part of a movement seeking to deny Trump the presidency.