A line tens of hundreds of people long zagged east to west Tuesday evening along Prexy’s Pasture on the University of Wyoming campus, all to see one person speak: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

More than an hour before the event officially started, people were being turned away as the UW Arts and Sciences Auditorium reached its capacity of just fewer than 2,000. Members of local, state and national media also turned out to report on Sanders’ visit to the Gem City just days before Saturday’s Wyoming democratic county-level caucuses.

Sanders spoke for about 30 minutes on the stage of the auditorium, then moved outside, speaking to a crowd on the lawn for another 4-5 minutes. Most of his talk highlighted points made in previous speeches around the country, focusing on what he described as a corrupt campaign finance system, a corrupt criminal justice system, income inequality, expanding healthcare, global warming, as well as gender, race, religious and sexual orientation inequality.

The senator’s comments on Wyoming focused almost exclusively on rallying voters for Saturday’s caucus, as he tends to win with large turnouts. Sanders acknowledged Wyoming does not have a strong democratic voter base but said he thinks people could unite under certain issues, regardless of political views.

“There are differences between progressives and conservatives, but our job is to bring people together regardless of their political perspective,” Sanders said. “We must fight for an economy that works for all of us, and not just the few. That is what this campaign is about.”

Aimee Van Cleave, executive director of the Wyoming Democratic Party, said the attendance for the Sanders rally exceeded that of Bill Clinton’s rally Monday morning in Cheyenne, where he stumped for wife and democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

“For a Monday morning, (the Clinton rally) had a good turnout,” Van Cleave said. “But I’m not surprised that Albany County is supportive of Senator Sanders.”

Wyoming fits the traits of states where Sanders has been successful recently, with predominantly white, working class demographics, Van Cleave said. Sanders also tends to do better in states here the candidate is chosen by caucus rather than a primary vote, she said.

“I think (Saturday’s results) will depend on if his supporters turn out,” Van Cleave said. “If they do, I think he’ll do well.”

Sanders has won seven of his last eight caucuses.

Out of the state’s nine democratic lawmakers, Rep. Charles Pelkey, D-Laramie, is the only one to endorse Sanders. He was the first to address the packed auditorium before Sanders took the stage.

Pelkey said Laramie was the logical place in Wyoming for Sanders to come because of its progressive politics. Pelkey said he expects Sanders to do well across the state.

“I often refer to this district as an island of blue in a sea of red,” he said. “Barack Obama won the state against Hillary (Clinton) in 2008 and I think we’ll see the same thing in 2016.”

University of Wyoming student Kyle Struna said he was not committed to supporting Sanders during Saturday’s caucus, but registered as a Democrat by the March 25 deadline because he was leaning in that direction.

“I’ve never been to a political rally before, so I thought I’d come experience it and see what he has to say,” Struna said.

Cheyenne residents Cally and Robby Turse came with their daughters Opal and Raya to support Sanders. They said it was worth the drive and standing in line in the cold wind to see the presidential hopeful.

“I’m just here to check out the out the most authentic and integral long-standing hopeful nominee we have,” Cally Turse said. “He’s going to beat Hillary (Clinton).”

UW student James Inwood stood outside with a picket sign along the line to get inside because he said he’s concerned about some of the democratic candidate’s policy positions. Though he thinks Sanders is “a nice guy who wants the best for people,” Inwood said policies such as Sander’s tax plan and approach to business would turn out badly for most people. He said the vast numbers that turned out to support Sanders on Tuesday wanted positive change, but didn’t understand the implications of Sanders’ ideas.

“I’m just worried this cause for positive change will mean negative change,” Inwood said. “A lot of these ideas don’t work out in practice.”

Sanders continues to trail Clinton in delegate counts, especially in super delegates, with which Clinton holds onto a commanding lead of more than 700 delegates. Since Wyoming has just 18 delegates — including four super delegates already committed to Clinton — a victory in the Cowboy State would be largely symbolic.

Before taking the stage, Sanders secured another meaningful victory in the Wisconsin primary, securing 45 delegates to Clinton’s 31.

(11) comments

Ronbo

You know why democrats have rally's on college campuses? Because they know there are a lot of gullible people there. This guy hasn't done squat for the people in the 26 years he has been a congressman and senator yet somehow all those people holding "a change to believe in" signs feel that qualifies him to be the leader of this nation. You would think people would have learned a lesson after the disaster that has been Obama.

bonjarno

Hello Ronbo,

Your rant seems vapid at best. Some 30 plus years ago I was a pretty non-gullible student on the UW campus. And I know many there now who are not. So what is your point? Were you a gullible person there? Or have you not been to college? Sorry but while there are counterexamples (I have a zillionaire friend who dropped out of high school, for example), you place yourself squarely in a box labelled 'more likely to be wrong' about a lot of things than people who were on college campuses. Gullibility aside.

Please take some time and iterate some examples of how the Obama presidency has been a disaster. Please compare this to, say, that of GWB. And on each point, take a moment to comment on whether each point was or was not actually a result of the previous presidency, and whether or not the outcome was or was not negatively impacted by the obstructionist Republicans in the Senate and Congress. People like Mitch McConnell.

I have family in Burlington and other towns in Vermont. Never lived there myself but we do talk. Their opinions would seem to contradict yours.

adroit1

If I belonged to a national party devoid of any ideas, I would be strapped to use the same rhetoric.

I also like when people refer to the disaster of the current administration, as if no one remembers what it was like just eight years ago - with two wars put on the credit card financed by China, heading into a horrible recession where we could have lost the automobile industry, and the bubble burst on our housing markets. We got to watch it all unfold on our TV's and we were ready to push the panic button.

Luckily, a gullible majority came together to elect a real leader. I wonder what it would have been like if that one party hadn't tried to stop him at every turn?

Too much success, perhaps?

clipper

LOL, adroit is back in the fairyland of his video game existence once again.

0bama has out Bushed Bush from two wars to four (Yemen, Libya, Syria and Ukraine) all on credit and all without congressional approval nor UN resolution. He uses NATO as his war drum and in each instance has left a human tragedy for someone else (EU) to deal with.

Not satisfied with running the war machine nonstop, the 0bama regime has doubled food stamp usage, the national debt and student loan debt while median family income dropped 6%, home ownership dropped 7%, labor force participation dropped 7% and healthcare costs rose an astounding 20%.

You want to talk about the Auto industry adroit? GM took their taxpayer bailout and expanded in China. They will be importing Buicks from there next year. Just this week Ford (refused 0bama bailout) announced the building of a new factory in Mexico.

You should really lay off the drugs or at least wait till you're sober before posting again because you're making a fool of yourself everytime.

adroit1

Wow. You sound angry, clipper. Like someone who hasn't found the right side of a debate yet.

Are you feeling lucky today, for some reason?

Let me know if you are. As always, I'm your Huckleberry.

Entropy

Ronbo - you know what might have brought you some credibility here? Attending the rally. Hearing Bernie Sanders speak. And then discussing (or even rebutting) his talking points based on reasoned and supported arguments backed by factual information. That would be excellent. Too bad you gave that no shot. That's what colleges and universities are trying to teach first and foremost anymore - critical thinking and analysis, and constructing positions based on best available science, facts, data, sources. Give it a whirl sometime. 18-22 year-old "gullible people" actually can accomplish this task with some basic instruction and guidelines.

WyoLib

I am amazed that I live in a alternate/parallel universe to many people out there. I have had a pretty good last eight years and don't see the doom and gloom that many tell about. But maybe that is because I am college educated, have worked hard in my life, have paid off my mortgage, like to see my neighbors enjoying their lives, care about the environment,.... this list could go on. I voted for Obama and would again if I could because the last eight years have not been a disaster. He is intelligent and thoughtful. Have there been incredible road blocks to an even better agenda, yes. But then in the government there are 3 branches and all are responsible for this country. As for having the rally in Laramie and not say, Ranchester, it's like going shopping for groceries in the hardware store, it's just not smart!!

clipper

Let me be the second person (after yourself) to pat you on the back wyolib. You've done so well under the current regime I can only conclude you're a member of the government class with your health insurance funded by others (taxpayers?). Poor self employed slugs like us are struggling in this economy and burdened by a 48% increase in health insurance premiums.

danceswithdeer

I agree with WyoLib. I certainly don't see the doom and gloom either. Life is pretty good for me, but then again, I'm college educated in a sought after field. My dad said it best, "You make your own luck."

pastrez4urinfo

"we" did not almost lose the auto companies--they lost themselves w/dismal foresight and erroneous management......we did, however, bail them out (should NOT have...) along with all the TBTF greedy risk-taking derivative- creating banksters....
As for your last 8 years, trust me, living in Laramie is --Irrespective of that continually negligent city council/manager group--rather insular from the vast corruption that exists here all along eastern seaboard and other coast and IL etc........but....wait for it.....your placid life of the last 8 years will soon see unbelievable changes and you will have lots of queries when we go cashless, and they nationalize your IRA/401K/cref/pension etc. Also, be ready for next series of bubbles: auto loans, students loans, yet again toxic mortgage loans (again...) and those ole derivatives laying on shelves for years...they never disappeared, just hidden and then fed gave all their buddy bankers your future earnings.....

adroit1

Spoken like someone who doesn't know the difference between recession and depression. Or fiscal and monetary policy.

You do know that the auto bailout worked, right? Check and see if they paid back their portion of TARP.

Also, I think most people weren't fans of "Too Big To Fail" banks. We could regulate them again. Look up Glass-Steagall and let me know if you get it.

The rest of your rant reminds me of one party wanting to privatize Social Security... One of the few ideas that exists in the sea of tax cuts.

But don't let knowledge get in the way of how you feel.

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