WORCESTER, Mass. – Bernie Sanders drew thousands of supporters to rallies at North High School here in this working-class city and earlier Saturday at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
“We have the opportunity during this year to do something extraordinary,” Sanders said in his first campaign stops of the new year, “to not only elect a president but more importantly to wage a political revolution and transform this country.”
During the early afternoon stop in Amherst, about 3,400 watched from inside the UMass Fine Arts Center and on a big-screen TV set up at an overflow area outside. As the senator was speaking about the collapse of the middle class in the United States and growing income and wealth inequality, he was interrupted by a man wearing a Donald Trump T-shirt. “Here’s a Trump supporter, worried about Mr. Trump’s money,” Sanders said as the man was ushered away. “I say to Mr. Trump and his supporters that the billionaires of this country will not continue to own this nation,” Sanders added as the crowd cheered.
As he arrived in Worcester, his car was caught in traffic outside the high school. Sanders jumped out and shook hands with supporters waiting in the long line that snaked for blocks to get inside the gymnasium. Not all of them made it. As dusk fell, the senator spoke at an impromptu gathering of 300 people in overcoats and Patriots stocking hats. Inside the school, another 2,700 people packed the gym and two overflow rooms to listen to Sanders’ hour-long stump speech.
The two campaign stops in Massachusetts came on the same day when Sanders disclosed that his campaign raised $33 million in the final three months of 2015. That brought his fundraising tally for the year to $73 million, almost all of it from small donors. Altogether, Sanders received more than 2.5 million donations in 2015 from 1 million different individuals.
“We will not accept a political system which is increasingly corrupt, which allows billionaires to buy elections. But together we are going to create a government that represents all of us and not just a handful of billionaires,” Sanders said.
The Massachusetts primary is one of 11 Super Tuesday contests that Democrats are to hold on March 1.