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Bernie Sanders captivates a rowdy crowd at a packed Tacoma Dome

Letter from the campaign trail

The night began with the Puyallup Tribal Council setting the tone for a historic rally in honor of Bernie Sanders and his supporters. In a powerful speech, Tribal Chairman David Bean welcomed the crowd to the homelands of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. The council raised their hands in appreciation to Sanders for his support and dedication to “protecting and preserving Mother Earth.” The Chairman emphasized resistance to the looming devastating incursion by the Tacoma Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facility. Tribal canoe families honored murdered and missing indigenous women with a solemn tribute.

A large crowd at a rally in Tacoma, Washington.
Photo by Filemón Bohmer-Tapia

Musical performances from Portugal, The Man, Stephanie Anne Johnson and Travis Thompson kept the crowd going through the night. Among other speakers, 18-year-old climate justice organizer Jamie Margolin, National Asians and Pacific Islanders Organizer for the Sanders Campaign Supreet Kaur, Seattle City Council members Teresa Mosqueda and Kshama Sawant and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal took the stage. Then it was time for the main event: Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders.

As Bernie emerged the capacity crowd erupted into a thunderous standing ovation. Bernie spoke about his vision for a more just society. Among them: Single-payer healthcare (Medicare for All), a Green New Deal to combat climate change, tuition-free higher education and student debt cancellation, federal legalization of marijuana and the building of 10 million low income houses. Sanders called for an end to demonization of undocumented immigrants and justice for those seeking asylum, and for ending inhumane family separation at the border.

Bernie took aim at adversaries and obstacles standing between him and the presidency. Targets included Donald Trump, who Bernie called a fraud and a hoax; and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who Sanders labeled an oligarch attempting to buy the election. When Bernie took shots at foes in the Democratic Party establishment the crowd broke into some of the loudest applause of the night. The speech ended with a hopeful message of victory.

The Democratic National Committee, the corporate sector and a complicit mainstream media have done everything in their power to stop Sanders’ momentum. Examples include Party support of more corporate-friendly candidates in the primaries, a frequent media blackout of the Sanders campaign and the discrediting of his followers. The healthcare industry, pharmaceutical companies and the entire Democratic Party establishment are under major threat if the movement that Bernie represents achieves success.

If victorious, the mandate arising from a Bernie win will activate more progressive candidates across the US and set off a wave of insurgent candidates taking down establishment incumbents. Increased access to a much-needed, better standard of living will only come to reality if large masses of people apply continuous economic and physical pressure to disrupt business as usual. The wealthy and powerful will look for any way to block the implementation of these social and economic programs. People must be prepared for a struggle to achieve the changes that a Bernie presidential win can bring.

Filemón Bohmer-Tapia is a community defense organizer based out of Olympia, WA.

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