Bernie Sanders stands on a stage surrounded by people holding blue and white posters with Bernie written on them

Feeling the Bern: What it’s Like to Attend a Bernie Sanders Rally

By Timia Cobb
Web Content Contributor

As soon I learned Bernie Sanders was hosting a rally in Austin, Texas, I knew I had to attend. I gathered a group of friends and drove to Austin first thing in the morning and attended my first presidential nominee rally.

As we were driving to Austin we couldn’t not notice the huge tank-like truck that took up almost two lanes. My friend soon pointed out this was the InfoWars truck. I wasn’t hugely familiar with who InfoWars was but could tell that they weren’t the biggest Bernie supporters.

After looking them up I found out who exactly Infowars were and knew immediately who some of their reporters were such as Kaitlin Bennett, also called “Gun Girl” on Twitter, and Alex Jones. As the truck drove by we saw multiple people rolling down their windows and yelling at the truck in passing.

We finally arrived downtown at Vic Mathias Shore, where the rally was taking place. We came three hours before the actual rally initiated to make sure we were close enough to see the presidential candidate.

Even though we arrived early, the place was crowded. We stood in line for a good 20 minutes to be checked by security and get into the venue. While in line, we met multiple people who were super friendly and some who were there only to protest the rally.

As soon as we got through security a volunteer approached us and asked if we would like to stand in the bleachers. She explained we would be able to stand behind Bernie as he gave his speech and appear on the live streams.

We excitedly said yes and got wristbands to identify that we were allowed on stage. However, we were informed we weren’t allowed to use our phones when in the bleachers and once we left them, we couldn’t come back. My friends and I decided this was a chance we couldn’t miss so we would stand in the crowd until we had to go to the bleachers for the first half then stand in the crowd and take more pictures towards the end. 

Two women stand wearing red shirts that say, “ Make bigots ashamed again”
Franchesca Vasquez and Miriam Schenk pose showing off their shirts. Image by Timia Cobb.

We stood in the crowd and soon started to talk to more and more people around us. We met two women whose shirts I loved and who helped translate what the Spanish interpreter was saying on stage to the people around us.

Due to how big the crowd was getting and deciding to take pictures I told my friends to go on stage without me. I did, however, get a spot really close to the stage that allowed me to see each speaker very well.

By the time five arrived we still hadn’t seen Sanders. Multiple councilmen had spoken, and we got a surprise appearance from Marianne Williamson, a former 2020 democratic presidential nominee, who announced she would now be endorsing Sanders.

Before we knew it, Bernie was being announced and all you could hear was the crowds repeated cheers of his name. I’ve never been in such a supportive place with people who all shared the same beliefs and were fighting for the same change. While I stood in the crowd, I could feel the hope and determination from everyone around me, which was astonishing.

Bernie Sanders stands on stage surrounded by a crowd as he speaks into a microphone
Sanders at downtown at Vic Mathias Shore in Austin, Texas. Image by Timia Cobb.

During the speech, protesters could be heard from outside the venue chanting and one of the protesters in the crowd even had to be escorted out because of him repeatedly trying to yell over Sanders during his speech.

What I liked about Sanders is that he never seemed to be telling or trying to persuade. Sanders controlled the crowd by simply talking and reassuring us that it’s our job to change our country. Sanders commented many times on how shocked on how many people showed up. I wasn’t able to know how many people were there because from my view it didn’t seem like a lot but later on that day it was released that more than 12,000 people had attended the rally.

Sanders only spoke for about 50 minutes before ending the rally and waving goodbye to the crowd with his wife.

I enjoyed my time at Bernie Sanders rally and I’m happy I went. Everyone should at one point attend a rally for someone they support, no matter who they are. To be in a place filled with people who share the same views as you and who all come out to support the same person is a bucket-list-worthy moment.

Featured image by Timia Cobb.

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