Bernie supporters attend rally at Marshall Rec Center


Rebecca Turnbull

Corbin Trent, the founder of Tennessee for Bernie Sanders and a campaign coordinator based out of the national staff speaks to Sander’s supporters Saturday at Marshall University Rec center.

Supporters of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders from Marshall University and surrounding communities gathered at the Marshall Rec Center Saturday for an organizing rally.
The Sanders event was hosted by Corbin Trent, a representative from the national organization staff.

“The main goal is to get people connected to each other and to bring more people into this political movement and to what Bernie’s calling a political revolution and to let them know that they’re not alone,” Trent said.

During the rally, people had the chance to sign up to host and volunteer at local phone bank events for the Sanders campaign. Phone bank events are essentially groups of supporters for a political candidate who gather to make phone calls to potential voters and collect voter data.

Trent said the spectrum of what is possible with the Sanders campaign will grow as more people get involved.

Trent said he has been to over 100 events like the one at the Rec Center for the Sanders campaign and has seen thousands of people coming to the events. Trent said this was his first event in West Virginia.

Trent said the message he tries to send through these events is how the action Sanders is calling for happens.

“So, if you just hear movement, political revolution, or volunteering, or whatever, it sort of seems abstract,” Trent said.

Trent said he is trying to make those ideas seem a little more real to people.

Family physician, Lauren Miller signed up to host a phone bank event while at the rally.

Miller said she knew she was coming to the event to learn what she could do for the campaign. Miller said once she learned about the phone banking, she decided to sign up.

“If they’d have told me tonight that they wanted me to drive to South Carolina, I probably would’ve done that,” Miller said. “I was just ready to help.”

Miller said she supports Sanders because she believes everyone has the right to affordable healthcare. Miller also said she believes the middle class needs to be built back up again and that college education should be free for everyone.

Rally attendee and Huntington resident, Sam Hawkins is currently a volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign and was recently canvassing in Iowa for Sanders before the caucus.

Hawkins said he was inspired to canvas for Sanders after seeing a subreddit post on Reddit, a user driven news aggregator, calling for supporters to go to rural Iowa and volunteer for the Sanders campaign. Hawkins said he has family in Iowa and was familiar with the area.

“It’s a lot of hard work. It’s a lot of just talking to people, everyday people,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said he is going to continue volunteering for the campaign. Hawkins said he will be leaving to canvas in South Carolina on Friday and will be there until the primary election.

Marshall student and freshman political science and computer information technology major, Caleb Arbaugh attended the rally and said he supports Sanders because he thinks the biggest problem in the government currently is money in politics.

“I think that influences a lot of decisions that go on in the political realm,” Arbaugh said. “And I respect that Senator Sanders can come as far as he has without taking money from big corporate interests.”

Marshall student and political science major Jacob Redman also attended the Sanders rally. Redman is president of the Progressives for Bernie student organization at Marshall University, which meets at 6 p.m. every Wednesday in Harris Hall room 137.

Redman said the rally was a chance to tell people about his student group and meet other like-minded people. Along with spreading the word about Sanders and the campaign, Redman said the goal of his organization is to increase voter participation.

“We want to do everything that we can to mobilize and organize voters. Because we’re the next generation, we’re the next voting block, so might as well start early,” Redman said. “I mean, politicians only respond to those who vote and if we don’t vote then we give up our voice.”

Redman said he signed up to host a phone-banking event, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Monday for the next four weeks in Drinko Library room 402.

Along with the rally giving people the opportunity to volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign through phone banking, Trent discussed polling numbers and potential in the next states to vote in the primary election.

Trent asked the attendees if they were “feeling the Bern,” which was met by a response of cheering and applause.

Amanda Gibson can be contacted at [email protected].