Bernie Sanders drew a significant crowd in Michigan at an event held at Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Hall in Ypsilanti. The doors opened up for the Bernie Sanders event at 12:30 p.m. on Presidents Day, but Sanders’ supporters headed out early and made a line that wrapped around the university’s wide city blocks.
Tom Masuga took the following video, showing just how long the line was to get into Bernie’s event. The video showed the Ypsilanti campus’ waiting line at around noon on Monday. Masuga reported that the line was still growing and cars were still coming in when the video was taken.
The temperature was 25 degrees, Masuga said, though other media reports indicated an even more frigid wind chill. That didn’t stop Bernie Sanders from packing Convocation Hall, despite giving Michigan very little warning that he’d be stopping in for a visit. Masuga said that the video of the crowd was the first thing he ever posted on YouTube, but he was so moved by the crowd that had lined up in the cold, he had to record it and share it online. A fellow YouTube user indicated that the line of people depicted in the video was over a kilometer long. A Click On Detroit report said that it would be conservative to estimate that the line ended up to be a mile long. It was probably in excess of a mile, according to that report.
— Kelly Collison (@kelcollison) February 15, 2016
The crowd that packed into the arena was estimated to be nearly 10,000 people, according to Click On Detroit, which also reported that the line at EMU consisted of a lot of first-time voters.
— Labor for Bernie (@LaborForBernie) February 15, 2016
— Michigan for Bernie (@Michigan4Bernie) February 15, 2016
Bernie reportedly had just been in Flint, and was fired up about the situation in that city after the citizens were unknowingly exposed to both Legionella bacteria and lead poisoning, while city officials reportedly took their time trying to figure out how to present the startling information to the public. Bernie Sanders told the crowd that the meeting with residents in Flint over their ongoing water crisis was one of the more difficult meetings he’d ever attended in his political career. Sanders again called for Gov. Rick Snyder’s resignation, after having issued a statement calling for it in a previous press release, according to The Detroit News.
“I really did not know how ugly it was,” Sanders said according to Fox News, which erroneously tallied the crowd total at only around 8,000 people. “If the local, if the state government cannot protect these children, the federal government better step up.”
“Can you imagine being a mother, seeing your own baby’s, your own child’s intellectual development, deteriorate in front of your very eyes?” Sanders asked the crowd in Michigan, speaking of the permanent brain damage that many of the children in Flint will now have to live with. “That is happening all over that city.”
Sanders said that Flint may be among the worst examples of the crumbling infrastructure, but that it’s not the only example.
— Elle’s Belles (@ElleBindaHouse) February 15, 2016
A CBS Detroit report said the crowd in the arena exceeded 10,000 people and that Sanders explained to the enormous crowd that it’s time for Wall Street to return the bailout the American people paid for after the economy crashed several years ago.
“After Wall Street crashed the economy, they came begging to the United States Congress, they said ‘yes, we were bad boys — bail us out,’And the middle class bailed them out. Now it is Wall Street’s time to help the middle class.”
Near the end of the hour-long speech, Sanders compared the cost of fixing Flint’s damaged water infrastructure to the funds the United States has spent in Iraq.
“When we went to war in Iraq, the trillions we spent there, not a problem,” Sanders said, expressing that the Federal government must step in and help rebuild the water system.
— Dylan Cherry (@rdcherry7) February 15, 2016
The rally comes as Bernie Sanders’ campaign opened five offices across Michigan in the past week in order to level the playing ground with Clinton, who, according to The Detroit News “has the backing of most of Michigan’s prominent Democratic leaders.”
— Hector Solon (@HectorSolon) February 15, 2016
Sanders supporters had waited as long as five hours in the cold Monday morning for the chance to see the presidential candidate speak at the rally at Eastern Michigan University. To put more accuracy on the total count at Bernie Sanders’ first Michigan rally, the arena has a 9,500-person capacity for concerts that use the floor, and an Ypsilanti fire marshal cut off access to the arena and began turning away people at the 9,391-person capacity. The Bernie Sanders rally was also live streamed on YouTube and the recording is still available online, though it is not set for sharing.