Sanders rallies in Springfield

Presidential hopeful returns to Oregon for latest campaign stop

Presidential candidate and current U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders made a campaign stop in Springfield, OR, Thursday, drawing thousands of supporters as he pushed for the upcoming Oregon primary vote.

Sanders took to the stage just after noon for his “A Future to Believe In Rally,” and immediately dove into the issues that he has centered his campaign on, including campaign finance, college affordability and the youth vote, among others.

“The young people are understanding that they are the future of this country,” Sanders said, touching on the high level of involvement and support his campaign has seen this election season from the younger demographics.

Sanders also spoke to the need for change he sees in campaign finance and the connection between Wall Street and large corporations and political contributions, asking whether the Democratic Party stood with those with money, or the average American person.

“The Democratic Party has to reach a fundamental conclusion,” Sanders said. “Are we on the side of working people or big-money interests?”

Sanders took aim more at the Democratic Party than he did his Republican opponents or Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

“A lot has happened in a year,” Sanders said, referring to his rise in popularity among American voters.

Despite losing four out of the last five state primaries, and an increase in the delegate count between Sanders and Clinton, Sanders remained adamant that he was still in the race to win the Democratic nomination.

“This campaign is going to win because we are listening to ordinary people, not just campaign contributors,” Sanders said.

At one point, Sanders called out the country for having one of the lowest national voter turnouts in the world.

“The problem we are having now is not, in my view, that Republicans are winning elections. The problem is that the Democrats are losing elections,” Sanders said before explaining that he believed the reason for low voter turnout among U.S. voters was because the Democratic Party has not been clear on which side they stand on in major issues that the country is facing.

Sanders said that the every state in the U.S. should have automatic voter registration for every American over the age of 18, have same day registration and have open primaries.

Sanders ended his speech by reminding those at the rally that primary ballots had been mailed out to registered voters and would be available immediately. He spoke for a little over an hour, then shook the hands of those that were nearest him as he was escorted by Secret Service agents away from the crowd.

As of Thursday, Clinton led the Democratic race with 1,663 delegates and 520 superdelegates, compared to Sanders’ 1,367 pledged delegates and 39 superdelegates.

According to a New York Times article, Michael Briggs, a spokesman for the Sanders campaign said that 225 staffers have been or will be laid off in the near future, an announcement that was made after Sanders’ losses in Tuesday’s primaries.

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich was also in Oregon Thursday, making appearances in Portland and Medford, according to his campaign website.

Oregon voters have until May 12 to request an absentee ballot if they have not received on yet, and until May 17 at 8 p.m. to return their absentee ballot for the 2016 Oregon primary.

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