Sanders Draws Large Crowd Downtown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Madeline Damiano has witnessed many elections throughout her lifetime, but nothing like this.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” the 95-year-old said as she moved through the long line of Bernie Sanders supporters filing into the Covelli Centre Monday morning.

Sanders, the U.S. Senator from Vermont who is vying for the nomination of the Democratic Party for president, is scheduled to speak at a rally here at 11 a.m. By 8:30, the line of attendees stretched around the Covelli well into the back parking lot.

“He reminds me of President Roosevelt,” Damiano said of Sanders. “He’s compassionate, he’s for the middle class, and he has to be our president. He’s a good man.”

The crowd — numbering about 1,800 — was a mixture of young and old, but mostly young supporters, of a candidate that has remained surprisingly resilient one day before the Ohio primary.

Mark Shannon, a student at Youngstown State University, said he’s been canvassing for Sanders throughout the week to corral support for the candidate and noted there is a strong showing from the younger, college-age population. “I’d say it’s pretty impressive, gauging from my Facebook feed and people I’ve talked to,” he said.

Others attending the event are undecided, but are interested in what the candidates have to say. “I’m not really very involved, but I want to hear firsthand instead of hearing through filters and social media,” said Haley Luckage, who noted that she hadn’t made up her mind on who to vote for. “I’m just going to check it out and see what he has to say. I just want to have an informed opinion.”

Sanders’ event today coincides with the visit of John Kasich, who is vying to be the Republican Party’s nominee for president, to Brilex Industries in Youngstown. Later this evening, the Mahoning Valley plays host to another candidate – GOP frontrunner Donald Trump at Winner Aviation in Vienna.

Supporters of Sanders say that their candidate sends a refreshing, honest message to the electorate whereas the other candidates are disingenuous. “I at least believe him more than the other ones. I have a problem with the other ones – they’re politicians – they say something and don’t follow through when they get into office,” Nathan Biviano said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.