Democratic presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders used his victory in Saturday’s Wyoming caucuses to excite throngs of supporters in New York City, telling boisterous audiences in Queens and Manhattan that his campaign has “a path to the White House.”
Addressing supporters at the Apollo Theater in Harlem Saturday night, Sanders said he looked to keep his winning streak going with a victory in New York’s April 19 primary election against rival Hillary Clinton. He reminded supporters that Saturday’s win in Wyoming, marked his eighth victory out of the past nine state Democratic contests.
“Now we are in New York, and New York has the chance to really make history if we win here, if we beat Secretary Clinton,” Sanders said to cheers from the invite-only crowd for an event billed as a “community conversation” with the U.S. Senator from Vermont.
The Apollo appearance was the last of four campaign events Sanders headlined Saturday as the Brooklyn born candidate barnstormed his native city with rallies in Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens.
In Queens late Saturday afternoon, he spoke to more than 800 boisterous supporters.
“We are making a whole lot of progress I think the reason is we’re doing something pretty unusual, number one, we are telling the American people the truth,” Sanders told the audience gathered inside the LaGuardia Community College Performing Arts Center in Long Island City.
When Sanders told the crowd he had just gotten word of his Wyoming victory over his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, the news sparked loud cheers of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”
From Brooklyn to Harlem, the U.S. senator from Vermont told supporters that affordable health and child care and access to a free public college education are critical to the country’s future.
At the Apollo, Sanders was joined on stage by Harry Belafonte, the entertainer and longtime civil rights activist, who said Sanders’ campaign had “reawakened” his spirit, and Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man whose death spurred calls for police reforms after videos surfaced of NYPD officers placing him in a chokehold as he said he couldn’t breathe. Garner said she was drawn to Sanders for being “a protestor.”
Sanders also spent much of Saturday railing against a “broken” political system controlled by the rich and accused GOP front-runner Donald Trump of using wedge politics to fuel his campaign.
“The way we make change is standing together and taking on the Donald Trumps of the world who like all other demagogues — and Trump didn’t invent this, don’t give him that much credit. He’s not that smart,” Sanders said late Saturday afternoon at a rally inside the Gould Memorial Library Auditorium at Bronx Community College. “What demagogues have always understood is the way they win is by dividing the people up.”
Earlier, addressing a half-full vaudeville theater in upper Manhattan, the Brooklyn-born Sanders told those in the audience he stands the best chance of defeating either Republican opponent — Donald Trump or Ted Cruz — in the fall presidential election.
“We do a lot better than Secretary Clinton,” Sanders said. “We are the strongest Democratic campaign to defeat some right-wing Republican.”
Sanders, once viewed as having no shot at the nomination, has closed the gap with Clinton, the former first lady, U.S. senator and Obama administration secretary of state.
Although an Emerson College poll released Friday shows Clinton leading among likely Democratic voters in New York State 56 percent to 38 percent, when the same poll was done in March, she led in her adopted home state by 48 points.
“We are on the way to pulling off the biggest political upset in the modern history of the country,” he told the upper-Manhattan crowd.
New York State holds its primary election April 19. Sanders is scheduled to debate Clinton Thursday at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
“When we began this campaign, everybody was very, very nice to me because they thought we were irrelevant,” he said to laughter earlier Saturday at United Palace in Washington Heights. “Once the media and others decided we were relevant, they haven’t been so nice to me. I don’t know why.”