On the Road

Greenville, South Carolina

The big Bernie banners hanging above the convention center had drawings of Palm trees as 2,800 supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders turned out in Greenville, South Carolina, for the first rally in a weekend swing through the Palmetto State.

“This is a fantastic turnout and I appreciate it very much,” the Democratic presidential candidate told the crowd at the TD Convention Center.

“The momentum from coast to coast has been extraordinary,” Sanders said. “This is a campaign on the move and it’s a campaign that’s going to win.”

The remarkable turnouts and excited crowds are one sign of the Sanders surge. Another sign of the momentum is the massive grassroots financial backing for his campaign.

“We do not have a super PAC. We do not want the money of corporate America,” he said. But he added that so far 400,000 contributions averaging $31 have poured into his campaign coffers. “This
is a people’s campaign,” he said.

Like crowds from coast to coast, the diverse audience here in Greenville applauded his “family values” agenda: paid sick leave, paid vacations and guaranteed time off for new parents to bond with their children.

Like audiences across the South in Texas and Louisiana and Arizona, his call to defeat a job-killing trade deal with 11 other Pacific Rim nations was cheered.

Like audiences at stops along the West Coast in Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles, people in South Carolina shouted their approval when he called for breaking up the nation’s biggest financial institutions. “If a bank is too big to fail it is too big to exist,” he said.

Sanders also blasted “acts of cowardice” by state lawmakers here and in other states to suppress Election Day turnout by minorities, young voters and seniors.

Greenville was the first of several appearances in a weekend swing through South Carolina that also will take Sanders to Columbia and Charleston.