S.F. to ‘Feel the Bern’ at Sanders 2020 Rally

Presidential candidates Sen. Kamala Harris and New York entrepreneur Andrew Yang have also courted the Bay Area in recent months.

Presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders shakes hands of supporters following a 2016 speech in San Francisco. (Photo by Jessica Christian)

Sen. Bernie Sanders will speak at San Francisco rally this week, marking one of a few 2020 presidential candidates to court the Bay Area early in the Democratic primary.

Sunday will be the first time Bay Area supporters will get a glimpse of Sanders in person since he launched his 2020 presidential campaign. Great Meadow Park at Fort Mason will host the rally, which is free and open to the public. Doors open at 11 a.m. and the event begins at 12:30 p.m.

The Vermont senator isn’t the only presidential candidates to visit the Bay Area in recent months. More than 20,000 people showed up for Sen. Kamala Harris‘ presidential rally in January at Oakland City Hall. Though Harris has Bay Area hometown appeal and represents California, 2020 observers will be keeping an eye on how many rally for Sanders in San Francisco.

Harris raised $1.5 million in the first 24 hours of announcing while Sanders raised nearly $6 million during the same time. Beto O’Rourke slightly surpassed Sanders with $6.1 million raised in the first 24 hours, according to POLITICO.

New York tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang also campaigned in San Francisco, which garnered 3,000 people who were mostly millennials, the Chronicle reported. Yang is still largely unknown in a crowded field but is gaining popularity for pushing universal basic income, touted as a way to account for job displacement amid rising automation from the tech sector.

Sanders made waves in the 2016 presidential election for identifying as a democratic socialist who pushed free college and healthcare — now a litmus test for 2020 Democratic hopefuls.

While the DSA National Political Committee is eager to endorse Sanders and campaign for him, local Democratic Socialists of America chapters are resisting the upcoming vote to make it official. In the name of bottoms-up democracy, the San Francisco chapter called for that decision to be made at the 2019 National Convention in August, an idea that the Peninsula DSA seconded on Sunday

“Our membership is severely troubled by the behavior of the NPC and National Staff in attempting to pass an anti-democratic endorsement plan without allowing meaningful input by chapters or members,” the San Francisco DSA resolution stated. “We question why National has not presented us with any other options for what DSA’s support of Bernie would look like if we do endorse.”

The national DSA committee will vote on March 21, a few days before Sanders’ rally. Other presidential rallies may not spur as detailed a debate among democratic socialists but there’s sure to be several more Democratic candidates stopping by the region between now and November 2020.

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