More than 27,000 people came to hear Sen. Bernie Sanders speak at the L.A. Sports Arena. Photo courtesy of Bernie Sanders campaign
More than 27,000 people came to hear Sen. Bernie Sanders speak at the L.A. Sports Arena. Photo courtesy of Bernie Sanders campaign

An estimated 27,000 people crowded in and around the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on Monday to hear Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders denounce big money politics and pledge to fight institutional racism.

Sanders has been drawing big crowds as he campaigns around the nation for the Democratic presidential nomination against frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Clinton, former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, has drawn around 5,500 at most to her campaign speeches.

“We don’t take money from billionaires,” Sanders told the cheering, overflow crowd. “We don’t take money from corporations. And yet we have received more individual contributions than any other campaign.”

Sanders, an independent from Vermont and an avowed socialist, was introduced to the roaring gathering by actress-comedian Sarah Silverman. “Give ’em hell, Bernie,” she said, possibly in reference to Harry Truman, the Democratic incumbent in 1948 who was expected to lose that election. Truman, who surprised many with his victory, campaigned to the slogan, “Give ’em hell, Harry.”

Sanders’ Los Angeles visit follows a rally in Seattle that ended early after it was disrupted by activists with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The demonstration came on the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Sanders did not mention the movement by name, but vowed he would not disappoint them if he is elected president.

“There is no president, none, one year after the death of Michael Brown, no president who will fight harder to end institutional racism than I will.”

Sanders, I-Vermont, has introduced a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political spending by corporations, associations or labor unions. He has promised that his nominees to the Supreme Court would commit to overturning the Citizens United decision.

The 73-year-old senator has voted in favor of the DISCLOSE Act, which would prohibit government contractors from spending money on federal campaigns and would create stronger disclosure requirements.

He also has introduced legislation to tax carbon and methane emissions, opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, and inserted a provision in the economic stimulus package for grants to fund energy upgrades for more than 86,000 buildings and the installation of more than 9,500 solar energy systems.

Earlier today, Sanders won the endorsement of National Nurses United, the nation’s largest nurses union.

Sanders is the first of three presidential candidates scheduled to be in the Los Angeles area in a two-day span.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is scheduled Tuesday to conduct a fundraiser in Long Beach on behalf of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will discuss foreign policy during a 6 p.m. forum Tuesday at the the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley.

— City News Service

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