When he came to Portland, Maine on Monday night, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke bluntly to a crowd of thousands at the Cross Insurance Arena of his hopes for and frustrations with America.
Among many other things, he talked about his goals of establishing a single-payer healthcare system, raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, combating climate change, and making tuition free at all public universities.
To see his speech in full, check out the YouTube channel Separation of Corporation and State.
Of all the topics that he touched on though, the underlying theme of Sanders’ speech was one of the need for a collective grassroots effort in order to ensure his nomination for president by the Democratic Party.
“The only way that change takes place is when we develop that strong grass-roots movement, make that political revolution, stand together, and then we bring about change,” said Sanders to raucous cheers.
Currently trailing preordained front-runner Hillary Clinton in both polls and fundraising, Sanders seems to understand that he’s fighting an uphill battle that he’s unlikely to win without the passionate support of progressive activists.
It’s a game plan that appears to be working for Sanders.
People waiting in the long lines outside the arena prior to the event were delighted to see just such an activist putting around the block in a converted bus, adorned in support of Sanders and blasting music from Bob Dylan and Bob Marley.
Meet Mark Buckley, an activist from Miami who has been featured in national news stories for his advocacy for animals, specifically for a popular chicken named Mr. Clucky.
Buckley, inspired by Sanders’ message and platforms, fixed up the bus with hopes to travel across the country urging support for the US Senator from Vermont.
“This thing can run on vegetable oil,” said Buckley with a grin, “if someone wants to donate the oil, I’ll take this thing all the way out to Iowa for the primaries.”
Buckley said he’s been traveling around in the bus in the northeast for the past couple of months. He has plans to return to Florida soon to take care of some personal matters, but then he wants to dedicate his time to advocating even more for Sanders.
“He can beat Clinton in the primaries if there’s enough of a grassroots movement,” said Buckley as onlookers cheered and took pictures of the passing bus, “I’m just trying to help get people excited about the idea of a Sanders presidency.”
Take the virtual tour of the bus, which includes a drop down stage for outdoor performances, chickens, and a wood stove: