I went down to the ‘Bernie’s Back’ Rally in Queens over the weekend to get a taste of what the campaigning was like up close. I was there from 11am when the doors opened right up until the end at around 4pm.
The following is my first-hand account of the day. There were 26,000 people attending. I tried to watch, listen and take notes of the major points as well as smaller, interesting observations around me.
To me, these are the kind of things that are the essence of being physically present.
I found myself very close to the front of the stage, embedded in the crowd. This gave me a vantage point to experience the event alongside the rest of the attendees. I think that this can give you a more authentic sense of what’s happening compared to being up in a press pack on stage, or cordoned off somewhere else.
At this point there was a lot happening. Off to the side there was a small group of Trump supporters waving a gigantic flag. They moved from outside the fence to up on the Ed Koch bridge and then back again.
Nina Turner introduced a lot of people and I had quite a job of keeping track of everything. I feel that most outlets get the main info though so I’m comfortable with drawing the things that seem to get the crowd most excited — which is mostly humour, or crisp statements that elicit chants.
Alexandra Ocasio Cortez was definitely the star of the show. The energy that she brought onto the stage and the way the crowd seemed to hang onto her every word was very clear to me.
Bernie strode out to the tune of AC/DC’s ‘Back in black’ which felt appropriate — it’s quite a working class anthem down under too.
There was a ton of chanting — the crowd around me was very much into it. I had a hard time recording key moments on my phone while also getting into the spirit!
The next day I went into my studio and scanned and compiled this piece. You can find it as a single image on my website.
If you’d like to republish this piece, you’re welcome to do so with a link back to my website and a full credit to me the artist please.