KEENE, N.H. — Coming off a strong performance in Iowa, Bernie returned to the Granite State on Tuesday to rally his supporters.
With one week until the first presidential primary, Sanders preached to the faithful during a standing-room-only event at the Colonial Theatre, where he hit on his familiar themes of welfare inequality, education and youth unemployment, while cementing his lead over Hillary Clinton.
“It sounds like you are ready for a political revolution,” Sanders told a roaring crowd who, prior to Sanders taking the stage, struck up an acapella rendition of “Revolution” by The Beatles “It sounds like you are tired of establishment politics and establishment economics.”
The event drew a crowd of the already-committed from all corners of New Hampshire.
“I’m feeling the revolution,” said Susan Lynde, of Hinsdale, N.H. “I’m feeling it. I’m ready for a change. I’m tired of all the regular Washington stuff, and I just want something different, something that little people are involved in.”
“I think climate change is really important and he’s an advocate for preventing it,” said Ben Bigaj, 16, of Keene. “He wants to eventually have tuition-free college. I like that he wants to bring the world together instead of apart, because I don’t think you can fix the world by tearing it apart and separating people.”
The event included remarks from actress Eliza Dushku, best known for the television program, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Today, Dushku is enrolled in college.
“I’ve come to realize what a privilege it is to pay for my own college tuition,” Dushku said. “Many people I know have had to drop out after one or two semesters because they don’t have the money.”
Across all polls, Sanders is outperforming Clinton in New Hampshire with margins ranging from 6 percent to 33 percent, with voters heading to the polls this coming Tuesday.
Monday night, Sanders outperformed the polling in Iowa – which had him down three points to Clinton – by coming to a near tie among caucus goers.
“Last night, in Iowa, we took on the most powerful political organization in this country,” said Sanders, referring to the National Democratic Party. “Last night we came back from a 50-point deficit in the polls. Last night, we began the political revolution, not just in Iowa, not just in New Hampshire, but all over this country.”
In the end, the Iowa Democratic Party handed the victory to Clinton by giving her the party’s superdelegates.
“I was disappointed that Bernie didn’t have a clear win, but I’m psyched he’s right up there, vying with Hillary,” said Laura Trowbridge, of Peterborough, N.H. “I think it’s a great beginning for him.”
For the next week, however, Sanders can look forward to campaigning in state where he enjoys a lead, and on Tuesday, he stuck to the same message he has offered for decades, discussing what he referred to as “a rigged economy where people are struggling to keep their heads above the water while all of the new wealth being created is going to the richest 1 percent.”
“If you are a Wall Street banker whose behavior destroyed the lives of millions, no one will prosecute them,” Sanders said. “Not only do we live in a time when banks are too big to fail, but bankers are too big to jail. And we’re going to change that.”
Sanders also called for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, and took a shot at Walmart, the largest private-sector employer in the country. He noted many Walmart workers supplement their incomes with public assistance.
“The major welfare abuser in America is the wealthiest family in America. I’m telling the Walton family, ‘Get off of welfare and pay your workers a living wage,’” Sanders said.
For Trowbridge, the start of the presidential primary season might be the start of something much larger.
“I feel like we’re ready for some change and I think he (Sanders) could be the beginning of that change that we’re ready for.”