What Happens When Bernie Sanders Comes to Los Angeles

March 24th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

Sen. Bernie Sanders reassured a Los Angeles crowd on Wednesday that he’s staying in this primary race for the Democratic nomination.

Sanders brought a Hollywood star and a litany of talking points to the Wiltern theatre to address the differences between a Sanders and Clinton presidency and to keep hope alive among his supporters.

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Actor Rosario Dawson introduced Sanders to a crowd of about 1,500 people, but before bringing out the Vermont senator she had a lot to say.

The actress packed some Donald Trump jabs into her podium time, referencing a famous line from his hit show “The Apprentice,” where each loser in the competition is "fired."

“Why Bernie has my vote?” she said. “He’s turning to all of us and saying you’re hired.”

Dawson criticized media outlets for giving Donald Tump $2 billion in free media coverage, which The New York Times reported earlier this month.

She also called the media “reprehensible” for labeling a Sanders win a long-shot, a sentiment that Sanders himself echoed when he came to the stage.

“There’s some mythology going around out there that we can’t win this election. That is mythology,” he said. “Well tell that to the people in Idaho and Utah last night.” Sanders took both states while Clinton won delegate-rich Arizona in Tuesday’s primaries.

Sanders touched on a wide range of issues including police brutality, immigration, student loans, minimum wage, and climate change. He called for “comprehensive” immigration reform that helps undocumented people who are “tired of living in the shadows.”

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Sanders once again defined his differences from Clinton, hammering his assertion that she accepts money from “special interests.”

He compared Clinton’s involvement in the decision to remove the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi from power to former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

Sanders said that ISIS filled the space left by the leader, but he never directly referenced this week’s terror attacks in Belgium.

“You just don’t go around over-throwing governments without thinking through the long-term consequences of that,” said Sanders. He also said Clinton initially supported the controversial Keystone Pipeline that was never built, and he ridiculed her support of fracking for natural gas.

At the risk of making Dawson angry, the question is whether winning is actually possible for Sanders? Sanders trails Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination by 303 pledged delegates and 441 superdelegates. A candidate needs a total of 2,383 delegates to secure the Democratic nomination. However, party rules say that candidates win delegates proportionally by congressional district. Sanders would have to win 60 percent of votes going forward in order to secure the delegates needed, according to The New York Times.

Also for an added flavor of uncertainty, there’s the issue of the 700 superdelegates who usually vote the same way as the pledged delegates decided by the primary elections. However they don’t have to vote the same. Superdelegates can change their mind any time before the July Democratic convention.

So yes, at this point it is possible for Bernie to win but it will be extremely difficult. But every supporter we talked to doesn’t see it that way. “I came here to ‘Feel the Bern,’” said 28-year old UCLA grad Estela Avalos. “It’s not too late.”

Update: March 25, 2016: A previous version of this story listed the number of delegates by which Sanders trailed Clinton at 744. That is the combined number of pledged delegates and superdelegates together. The two categories were separated for clarification. 

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