Bernie Sander’s Iowa Rallies Featured Big Name Musical Artists
By Marisa Valentino
Raging rallies were held by Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt in Iowa to gain support for his presidential campaign the week leading up to the Iowa Caucus. The rallies resembled a music festival complete with beer, live music, and a multitude of millennials. The event even gained a festival-inspired nickname ‘Bernchella.’ Bon Iver, Vampire Weekend and a variety of other musicians performed to show their support. Some songs on Vampire Weekend’s setlist were “2021,” “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” and “Holiday.” Bon Iver’s gig included “Blood Bank,” “Flume” and “For Emma.”
Despite the rallies’ reputation and festival-inspired nickname, they were in fact political. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver covered Bob Dylan’s politically suggestive “With God On Our Side” and “The Times They Are A-Changin” for the Clive, Iowa rally at Horizon Events Center.
In addition to musical performers, a variety of politicians and celebrities
attended to vocalize support of Sen. Sanders’ platform. Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota, Mark Pocan, of Wisconsin, and Pramila Jayapal, Sen. Nina Turner, D-OH, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, actor Kendrick Sampson, liberal Filmmaker Michael Moore, politician Stacy Walker, and political activist Dr. Cornel West participated in the rallies.
In his speech at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa rally Michael Moore spoke on the ideals of Sen. Sanders’ campaign. He said, “The things he stands for and the things he’s going to do as president is all about love and compassion.” Moore continued, “love and compassion that’s the way it’s gonna be starting next January of 2021.” After ending his speech he had the crowd chant “love and compassion.”
Following Michael Moore was Sen. Turner. Her speech appealed to the environmentally conscious. She raised her hand as she said, “Those of us who care about Mother Earth, it’s on the line.” She also said Sen. Sanders is “a true champion for justice.” Suggesting he would make the right decisions regarding climate change.
After Sen. Turner, Walker took the stage to talk about the progressive movement. He said Sen. Sanders “has brought together one of the most diverse coalitions in American history.” Walker also said, “No matter your skin color, your sexual orientation, what God you pray to you are a part of something much bigger and that is the progressive movement.”
Sen. Sanders’ Iowa rallies were an effort to gain political support for Sen. Sanders in the upcoming Iowa Caucus. The Iowa Caucus is believed to indicate the outcome of the primaries, so a win would be a huge success for Sen. Sanders’ campaign. Sen. Sander’s festival-esque rally was likely a way to gain and maintain the support of young voters. What better way to accomplish that than by appealing to this demographic’s interests, one of which happens to be music festivals.
It’s no secret that most youths love Bernie. In fact, sixty percent of
Democrats under age 30 support Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, according to a poll from The Economist/YouGov conducted February 9th through February 11th of 2020. Preserving and possibly extending this support would increase Sen. Sander’s chance of winning the Iowa Caucus. The crowd of 3,000 people at his last rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa was deceptively successful.
At the time of this rally, held 48 hours before the Iowa caucus, Sen, Sanders was number one in the Iowa polls. However, in an unexpected turn of events, Sen. Sanders came in second to Pete Buttigieg. Both Democratic presidential candidates received 26.2 percent of votes, but Buttigieg had 13 delegates and Sen. Sanders had 12. Many of Sen. Sander’s millennial supporters were left with post-concert blues and serious concerns about the political future.