Bernie Sander’s supporters bernin’ up downtown

The corner of Broadway Street and Ninth Street was taken over with supporters of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Oct. 11.

The corner of Broadway and Ninth Street was taken over Saturday afternoon by a number of supporters of the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. Roughly 25 people stood on the busy corner in downtown Columbia trying to promote Sanders.

Sanders is a self-described “democratic socialist” who was formerly Vermont’s sole representative in the House and is currently serving his second term in the Senate. He’s known for trying to provide accessible public goods freely to citizens.

Mid-Missourians for Bernie group organizer Tao Weilundemo said that though socialism became a “dirty word” in the Cold War, many millennials don’t view it that way.

“If you think about all of those popular aspects of government that people like, those are all socialist programs,” Weilundemo said. “The countries that say they have the highest quality of life are also the ones that have the highest levels of socialism.”

Sanders supporters advocated for the politician with signs and pamphlets. Mother and son Elizabeth and Jack Harding carried two signs saying “Bernie for President” and “Bernie: Not for Sale.”

Standing near them was Weilundemo, who became active with Sanders’ campaign when Sanders first announced that he would be running in the 2016 election. Next to Weilundemo was a variety of Sanders merchandise, ranging from T-shirts and buttons to bumper stickers.

“The main thing I like best about Bernie Sanders is that he is trying to get money out of politics, and I think to achieve all these other goals, that has to happen first, because right now we have legalized bribery essentially,” Weilundemo said. “Our democracy is essentially for sale.”

Across from Weilundemo stood Lance Nichols, the rally coordinator for Mid-MO for Bernie who has been a part of the group since July. Nichols held a sign with the words “Honk for Bernie” written on it, looking for positive feedback from passing cars on Broadway.

“What he supports is also, I think, the best things for the country — increasing workers’ rights, increasing accessibility to education to everyone which is a universal good, providing healthcare to everyone which also a universal good,” Nichols said.

Other Columbia residents also came out in support of the rally, including MU graduate Billy Horowitz.

“(Bernie) cares about working people and he actually wants to change the trends of working people not being paid living wage,” Horowitz said.

Broke Billionaires for Bernie, the next main event by Sanders’ supporters, will be held at 6 p.m. on Nov. 7 at The Bridge.

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