“Run Bernie run, run Bernie Run,” chanted a crowd gathered at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco Friday, echoing enthusiasm on the left for a 2020 presidential run by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Sanders delivered a spirited speechblasting the latest Republican health care bill and pushing his own health care legislation, which he calls “Medicare-for-all.” He welcomed the embrace, waving at the crowd and hugging RoseAnn DeMoro, a political firebrand and head of National Nurses United who started the chant.
“I think he should totally run for president,” said Samantha Spiegel, 26, of San Francisco. “Medicare-for-all is very important to me. I have a lot of health issues in my family and I suffer from mental illness, so backing health care for all is really important.”
Spiegel was one of hundreds who congregated behind the crowd of California nurses, in San Francisco for their annual convention. Organizers made the event public citing widespread interest.
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Sanders is seen possible presidential contender in 2020. Other names often mentioned are California Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker.
“I like Bernie Sanders – I like his ideas, I like that he’s progressive,” said Terry Frey, 72, of San Francisco.
Sanders’ age – he is 76 – came up, but many said they thought it wouldn’t be an issue should he choose to run.
“We’re kind of in the same bracket, me and Bernie, and I don’t think I would be looking to run for president at his age, but that’s just me. I could see myself voting for Bernie,” added Frey.
“He has more energy and integrity than any of the other candidates being discussed,” said Deanna Silverthorne of Kentfield, noting his foreign policy speech Thursday at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri and his upcoming debate on health care on CNN Monday.
“The guy doesn’t stop because he believes what he’s saying. He doesn’t have to give it a second thought. He’s a leader of the revolution,” Silverthorne added. “Whether he runs doesn’t matter.”
Lex Reilly, 22, of Arcata, said he hopes Sanders will run.
“I like that he’s an older guy speaking for what the younger generation wants,” Reilly said.
Caryn Samuell, 65, in town visiting her son from Massachusetts, said she’d back Sanders for president.
“I like honesty,” said Samuell, who identified herself as a fiscal conservative.
She said she wouldn’t support Warren, should she ever run.
Others voiced support for Sanders, but also for Harris.
“I don’t want to say I think he’d be a little too old, but you know, let’s face it — he would be the oldest president in history,” said Tony Minutelli, 59, of Los Angeles. “But I believe in him.”
What about Harris?
“Yes. Very much yes,” Minutelli said. “I’m a big Kamala fan. Hopefully some day she will run. It might be a bit too soon for 2020, but I would definitely vote for Kamala Harris.”