Bernie Sanders Attracts Huge Crowd In Visit To California, A State Pivotal To His 2020 Hopes

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In 2016, California was the end of the line for Bernie Sanders. But in 2020, it could become the start of his presidential run.

A shaken-up Democratic primary schedule has moved California from the end of the line in 2016 to near the beginning next year, making the state pivotal for the crowded field of contenders hoping to win the nod in 2020. Sanders is off to a good start in the Golden State, with a visit through the state this weekend that saw crowds rivaling his 2016 campaign. As the Mercury News noted, the Vermont Senator met with supporters in San Diego on Friday, Los Angeles on Saturday, and capped it off with a visit to San Francisco on Sunday.

While Sanders saw his 2016 hopes finally extinguish with Hillary Clinton winning in California, cementing a lead that was already seen as insurmountable, supporters believe the strong base he has built in California will propel Sanders a win there four years later that could help give him the nomination.

“You’re gonna see the enthusiasm that’s there for Bernie in the Bay Area,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Fremont, a co-chair of Sanders’ national campaign.

“And I think you’ll see him share more of his personal story in a way that he hasn’t in the past.”

Khanna admitted that Sanders has a much better campaign this time around, as the Vermont Senator was widely criticized for a slow start in 2016 that put him behind the ball and allowed Clinton to jump out to a large early lead.

The 2020 race starts with a new dynamic, however, and Sander is now seen among the frontrunners in a field filled with experienced politicians as well as some new faces.

During his rally in Los Angeles, Sanders addressed the different feel this time around.

“I look around at this enormous crowd,” Sanders told supporters packed into Grand Park (via Common Dreams).

“I think not only are we going to win California, we’re going to win the Democratic nomination.”

Voters in California head to the polls on March 3 next year, and they can start casting their ballots on the same day as the Iowa caucus, February 2. That has made the Golden State a must-visit destination for the Democratic hopefuls. Bernie Sanders has been among the biggest draws so far, but he will still have an uphill battle against a field that includes early frontrunner Joe Biden — who has yet to actually declare if he’s running — and home state Senator Kamala Harris.