Who are you calling old?

Bernie Sanders showed off both his organizational strength and personal stamina during a marathon of parades over the 4th of July holiday in Iowa. While nine other candidates criss-crossed the state this week, the 77-year-old Sanders certainly had them beat on distance traveled – by foot, that is.

Sanders spent three days in Iowa this week, hosting an immigration roundtable discussion, opening three new campaign offices and walking in five parades – four of them on the 4th of July alone. The immigration roundtable saw a max-capacity crowd, and Sanders’ crew at each of the parades grew ever larger.

During the parades, many of the local party organizations had one group for their Democrats coalition, but Sanders and his group walked separately. Some people with the local parties criticized the move, while others said it was the respectful thing to do with the Sanders groups being so large.

Immigration Roundtable

Sanders hosted an immigration roundtable on Wednesday night. Held in Southeast Des Moines, the event drew a large, emotional crowd.

The Senator invited four immigrants or children of immigrants to speak at the event, each with a chance to tell the story of the journey to the U.S., their experience since arriving, what they’ve enjoyed about America and what they would like to see changed or improved.

The discussion tugged at the heart strings of many attendees, as people on the panel and in the audience were visibly moved. Tissues were being passed around, hugs given out and Sanders took his time to show his passion for changing the country’s immigration laws.

A Parade of Parades

Sanders walked in a parade in West Des Moines on July 3 following the immigration roundtable to kick off what was about 36 hours of parading non-stop. On Thursday, he walked in parades in Slater, Ames, Windsor Heights and Pella.

West Des Moines Parade

A torrential downpour cleared up just before the kickoff of the West Des Moines parade, one of the longest in the state. It was still wet out, but it didn’t seem to hurt attendance, and definitely didn’t stop Sanders from bringing a big crowd with him. About 35 people walked with Sanders on the route as he met voters, shook hands and took pictures up and down the streets.

Sanders also gave out a number of hugs during the parade, one of which sent a young woman into a happy dance of joy.

Slater Parade

Sanders and company kicked off their 4th of July early in the day, walking in a parade in Slater, a small town between Des Moines and Ames, at 10:00 a.m. With a large turnout for the parade itself, Sanders had the chance to shake a lot of hands as his teams passed out signs. This was a brief stop, though, as the Ames parade started at 11:00 a.m. and was some 20 minutes away.

Ames Parade

Again with a big following in Ames, Sanders hit the streets to greet voters in the progressive college town, a place that he should perform well in for the Iowa Caucus.

The Sanders group of supporters were loud and proud in Ames, and with Sanders being the only presidential candidate there, the reception was positive, with voters line up for their chance to shake hands or take a picture.

Windsor Heights Parade

After taking a break from parading to relax and celebrate an office opening in Ames, the Sanders team headed south to Windsor Heights, a small Des Moines suburb, for their third parade of the day.

With another big group on hand, Sanders and his supporters headed out yet again to meet voters, pose for photos and hand out literature.

This was the longest route of the day. The Sanders crowd here had a banner of signs reading “IA hearts Bernie.” Because of the long walk, the campaign had a golf cart with them so Sanders could get in quick breaks from the hot, early-afternoon sun.

Pella Parade

Pella was the last stop of the day, and yes, it was still blisteringly hot. It was also perhaps the biggest group of the entire day for Sanders, despite this being an extremely conservative town. Around 50 supporters joined Sanders for the walk.

Pella was also the most mixed bag of responses to Sanders. There were many people excited to see the candidate, making their way to the street for a chance to shake hands and say hello. But Pella also had the highest number of vocal Trump supporters, who, needless to say, weren’t too stoked to see Sanders there.

At one point, a Trump fan boasting a “MAGA” flag began shouting into the crowd of Sanders supporters, saying, “Socialism kills countries.” Someone from the Sanders crew yelled back, “We’re already socialist, we’re just doing a bad job at it!’

It was a fun couple of days walking around with Sanders and his supporters in the sweltering sun. Overall, this reporter walked 27,110 steps keeping up in the parades. Sanders himself wasn’t too far behind, and seemed to hold up quite well.

 

by Josh Cook
Posted 7/5/19

One thought on “27,110 Steps With Bernie Sanders In Iowa

  1. My response would have been, “Which countries? The Socialist democracies are doing quite nicely, thank you. Communist countries have “died”, but it wasn’t due to socialism. It was due to their totalitarian governments.”

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