Bernie supporters party at the Back Door

It seems Bloomington is Berning.

The Monroe County for Bernie Sanders group boasts a volunteer list of more than 500 people.

During the weekend, the group participated in a phone bank at Nick’s English Hut, a voter registration campaign before Sunday’s basketball game and a benefit dance party at the Back Door on Friday night.

“There are a lot of open-minded people here, and we disavow the rhetoric coming from the Republicans, especially Donald Trump,” said Jessica Martlage, the administrator of the Indiana for Bernie Sanders group. “We aren’t going to let racism and hatred stand, so I think Bernie’s gonna have a strong hold here for sure.”

Martlage is happy and eager to discuss Sanders’ policies with anyone who will listen. Anyone except her father, she said.

“My dad is a Trump supporter, so it’s best if we don’t talk about it,” she said.

Martlage said she has noticed a surprising trend in voters who prefer both Trump and Sanders over any of the other candidates. Indeed, many of the comments from Sanders supporters at the benefit event seemed similar to those of Trump fans.

“He doesn’t take any crap,” Martlage said. “He’s thinking from his heart. He’s not bought and sold or speaking for corporate 

Listening to local bands, attendees described 
Sanders as “authentic” and “independent.”

“The thing that I appreciate most is he’s really talking about things that haven’t been talked about ever,” IU graduate student Naima Gardner said.

Both Trump and Sanders have had surprising success in their bids for president, and they both have something important in common, Gardner said.

“They’re both appealing to this deep-seated resentment in the American public in very different ways,” she said. “It’s the same kind of fervor motivated by such violently different things.”

Trump is appealing to fear and prejudice, while Sanders leans on social justice and equality, 
Gardner said.

“This election scares me,” IU graduate student Karly Beavers said. “Supporting Bernie is supporting all of my friends who are minorities and refugees.”

“Pretty much anyone who’s not a white male,” IU graduate student Jesse Elkins said.

For now, though, Trump is a secondary worry for Sanders fans. With Hillary Clinton’s 1,121 delegates to Sanders’ 481, Clinton has a bigger lead over Sanders than Obama ever had over her in 2008.

“I’m resigned to the fact that it will probably be Hillary,” Gardner said.

Even so, she said she remains supportive and grateful for the Sanders 

“He’s been pushing Hillary to the left,” she said. “He’s forced her to talk about things she never would have otherwise.”

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