Sanders rallies last-minute support at Iowa City HQ stop

Bernie Sanders spoke before a crowd of supporters and volunteers on Sunday. With one day before the Iowa caucuses, Sanders said his campaign is the only one with the momentum required to win the presidency.


Charles Peckman

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT speaks before supporters and volunteers on Sunday, Feb. 2. With one day before the Iowa caucuses, Sanders said his campaign is the only one with the momentum required to win the presidency.

Charles Peckman, Senior Reporter

With a little more than 24 hours before the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. spent Sunday morning with supporters and a litany of volunteers at his Iowa City field office.

During an event consisting of an acoustic rendition of Bob Dylan’s song “The Times They Are a-Changin’” and an emotional introduction from former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, his usual stump speech was transformed into a last-minute battle cry before tomorrow’s caucuses.

Donning a simple black suit and his ever-present, moderately adrift hair, Sanders said he could not believe the kind of turnout his campaign is receiving in Iowa.

“The reason I believe we’re going to win tomorrow night is … because of you,” Sanders said. “At the end of the day, the only way we are going to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in the history of this country, is when millions of people stand up and say ‘sorry, we will not accept a president who is a pathological liar.’”

To Sanders, the momentum created by his campaign is unprecedented. A win in Iowa, he added, would show that the American people are ready for a political revolution.

“Let us stand together as Americans around an agenda that works for all of us, not just the one percent,” he said.

Before Sanders took to the podium, however, Turner led the crowd in a passionate call-and-response, during which she extolled the virtues of a Sanders presidency.

“Senator Sanders is 78-years-old, but today we’re going to make him 46 … the 46th president of the United States,” she said. “Isn’t it wonderful that in this people-powered, multi-generational, multi-gender, multi-racial movement that we are in that we are really saying to this nation and to the world that what we want for others we want for ourselves, for our communities.”

Dabbled throughout the crowd were maroon shirts bearing the phrase “UChicago for Bernie.” University of Chicago students Katarina Keating and Emily Pelliccia said over 100 people traveled from the Windy City to Iowa for the weekend to knock on doors and volunteer for the Sanders campaign; Sanders graduated from U Chicago in 1964.

“This is the movement that can beat Donald Trump,” Pelliccia said. “Like every supporter is saying, Bernie is the one who can transform the government and transform the economy.”

In addition to attending rallies and events in Iowa, Keating said the group has been assisting on the ground level – knocking on doors in Iowa City, Davenport, Waterloo, and other areas. Both students said the support of Sanders’ alma mater – paired with decades of experience – cements the Senator as the “clear choice” for 2020.

Volunteers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. sort flyers at Sanders’ field office in Iowa City on Sunday, Feb. 2. Sanders is one of 11 candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination.

Just last night, Sanders – with the help of popular indie band Vampire Weekend – filled the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids with a raucous, party-like atmosphere. With a score of last-minute Iowa stops under his belt, Sanders joins other candidates who are looking for a terminal surge in the Hawkeye State.

As volunteers and merch-clad supporters inundated the barren Salvation Army parking lot after the event, conversations ranged in scope from potential vice presidential candidates to door-knocking plans; the tone ranged in breadth from jubilation to cautious optimism. In any case, Iowans will have made their choice come Monday evening.