As Sanders Rallies Crowd at Keene State, Supporters Emphasize 'Once in a Lifetime Opportunity' Bernie Represents

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) greets supporters during a campaign event at the Keene State College on February 09, 2020 in Keene, New Hampshire. The New Hampshire primary is February 11. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As Sanders Rallies Crowd at Keene State, Supporters Emphasize 'Once in a Lifetime Opportunity' Bernie Represents

"We want to do all we can to help Bernie get elected."

Sen. Bernie Sanders told a crowd at the Keene State College Spaulding Gym in Keene, New Hampshire Sunday evening that they need to do everything they can to get out the vote ahead of Tuesday's 2020 Democratic presidential primary primary vote--a message that resonated with attendees eager for political change.

"There's no stopping our movement," Sanders told the cheering crowd.

Around 1,981 people came out to see the Vermont senator. That's the largest rally this cycle in New Hampshire, campaign manager Faiz Shakir told Common Dreams.

Sanders is one of the two frontrunners in polling ahead of the primary vote, along with former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. The Vermont senator won New Hampshire over former Secretary of State and eventual nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. Sanders hopes for a repeat Tuesday.

As Common Dreamsreported, a CNN poll released Sunday found voters in New Hampshire believe Sanders is the most electable Democrat to take on President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election. But, as Jacobin journalist Meagan Day tweeted, the senator's supporters shouldn't let that lull them into a false sense of security--especially with conflicting polls coming out of the Granite state.

"We have to fight like everything's on the line," Day said.

There were undecided voters in the crowd willing to be converted. One New Hampshire voter Common Dreams spoke to, who gave his name as "Matt," said that he and his wife were attending the event to try to decide between Sanders and billionaire Tom Steyer.

"We came to see if this would make the difference," said Matt.

Not all attendees of the Keene rally were from New Hampshire. Sarah White and Salmun Kazerounian came up for the rally from Hartford, Connecticut with their two young children. White told Common Dreams she was returning on Monday to volunteer to get out the vote.

"Connecticut is a late voting state," White said. "We want to do all we can to help Bernie get elected."

Kazerounian, who volunteered across New Hampshire on Friday, said that his enthusiasm is based on the unique moment for progressives that the Sanders campaign represents.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for anyone with a left perspective who's concerned about the future of our planet, equality, justice," Kazerounian told Common Dreams. "I never imagined this could happen."

The event opened with performances by rock bands Twiddle and Sunflower Bean.

Campaign co-chair Nina Turner and actor Tim Robbins also addressed the crowd, calling for the movement to not stop its momentum once Sanders is elected president.

"We're going to start the change," said Robbins, adding that the campaign knocked on 150,000 doors on Saturday.

Shakir told Common Dreams that number would have been impossible without the work of volunteers from around New England and across the country.

"We have a large pool of dedicated volunteers," said Shakir. "We're going to take advantage of that; we're going to do what it takes to win."

White, the volunteer from Connecticut, told Common Dreams that she and Kazerounian came to volunteer both to elect Sanders and to set an example for their children.

"We're also here to be a model for our children," she said. "Not just to be involved, but to show them the struggles we believe in."

Sanders echoed that message in his remarks from the stage.

"In this unprecedented moment in American history, the most controversial election in history, let us win here and win the Democratic nomination and then defeat Donald Trump," Sanders said. "And then let us transform this country."

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