Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar joined Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the northern Virginia D.C. suburb of Springfield Saturday as the self-described socialist senator made his final pitch to voters just three days before the critical Super Tuesday contest.
Omar attempted to dispel the conventional wisdom that Sanders is too radical to capture a nationwide victory against President Donald Trump in November and condemned political opponents as oppressive.
“What they say about our campaign is designed to make us invisible,” said Omar, a Somali refugee speaking to a packed audience in an indoor sports complex located at the center of one the highest concentrated areas of Somali immigrants in the United States. “Our campaign is designed to make everyone visible.”
Omar continued to tout the senator’s support among various voting blocs, such as women and minorities, and claimed Sanders was in position to recapture key states that flipped for Trump in 2016.
“They will say that Bernie can’t win states that Trump has won, but when you look at Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Michigan, Bernie is leading,” Omar said.
While RealClearPolitics’ latest poll aggregates show Sanders with a slight lead over Trump in Michigan and Pennsylvania, Sanders still trails the incumbent president in Wisconsin by a thin margin. In Virginia, Sanders is poised to do well in Tuesday’s primary, leading the Democratic field by 9 points in the latest state survey, conducted last week by Data for Progress.
The rest of Omar’s speech largely reflected the senator’s talking points, which Sanders repeated when he took the stage, including demands for single-payer health care and a Green New Deal that would require steep tax hikes extending far beyond America’s “1 percent.”
Omar, whose signature issue in Congress has been Middle Eastern affairs and who has cultivated a reputation as the House’s leading antisemite, also blasted U.S. military intervention abroad and called for increased spending at home.
The United States, Omar said, ought to be building up mass wealth redistribution programs “and not bombing countries abroad.” This prompted thunderous applause from the almost 7,000 people assembled at the St. James Sports, Wellness, and Entertainment Complex.
Sanders, meanwhile, proceeded to rail against the establishment and remained focused on Trump, refraining from many jabs at his Democratic rivals.
“The establishment doesn’t get it,” Sanders said when discussing the economic squeeze felt by the American middle class. The enthusiastic crowd cheered at the senator’s nearly every word, reinforcing the legitimacy of his good standing in the polls.
The Springfield location was not the originally scheduled venue for the rally, which was supposed to be held in Leesburg, Virginia, about an hour drive northwest of the nation’s capital. Citing an overwhelming response from prospective attendees, however, the campaign moved the event to the Springfield sports complex to accommodate the mass influx of supporters, yet still had to turn people away.
Following a clean sweep of the first three Democratic contests this month, with the caveat that Sanders comfortably won the Iowa popular vote but lost the delegate count by a razor-thin margin, the New England senator eclipsed former Vice President Joe Biden as the turbulent primary’s clear front-runner.
According to RealClearPolitics’ latest aggregate of nationwide polls, Sanders holds a more than 10-point lead over the rest of the field with nearly 30 percent support. Biden has fallen behind with almost 19 percent, while Bloomberg holds more than 14.
Biden, however, could rebound from a disastrous month of serious under-performances in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada with his big win in South Carolina, though it’s possible Biden’s southern win could be too little, too late. Sanders, running high off a string of wins, could have built the necessary momentum in Biden’s absence to carry the far-left senator to the party’s nomination in Milwaukee this summer, paving the way for a race between socialism and freedom this fall.