Elizabeth Warren. Huge crowd. 6,500 turn out for California rally

Excerpted from San Jose Mercury News 6.1.2019

The Laney College soccer field hosted Warren’s biggest campaign crowd yet

OAKLAND — Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew thousands of fans to Laney College on Friday night for a town hall that she described as her largest event in the country so far, a show of force for the progressive presidential contender.

Jordan Long-Copes, a Laney student who dropped out of Moorehouse College with two years of accumulated debt, hopes Warren’s star continues to rise. He appreciates her straight-forward approach to explaining policy proposals, something he thinks other Democratic candidates have failed to do.

As for the misogynistic rhetoric so common in American politics, the successes of politicians like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY and Ilhan Omar, D-MN, have given him hope for 2020.

“Most Americans are sexist – like, 99%,” Long-Copes said. “But with Trump, I think nobody’s going to care anymore. If you’ll be a good president, people will vote for you.”e

“Most Americans are sexist – like, 99%,” Jordan Long-Copes said. “But with Trump, I think nobody’s going to care anymore. If you’ll be a good president, people will vote for you.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren holds town hall at Laney College
Senator Elizabeth Warren takes the stage for a town hall held at the Laney College soccer field in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, May 31, 2019. Thousands of supporters showed up to hear the senator from Massachusetts speak. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)


An estimated 6,500 people waited in a line that stretched for blocks. Organizers had relocated the event from the gymnasium to the much larger soccer field that morning, but it still took two hours for everyone to make it through the gate, delaying the start by an hour.

Despite the wait, the crowd was in good spirits, cheering at Warren’s proposals to end corruption in Washington and booing references to the Koch brothers. Warren said little about big tech during her speech, focusing instead on the influence of money in politics and issues facing the middle class.

The candidate is in town for the state Democratic convention in San Francisco this weekend, where she and 13 other presidential candidates will make their case to party insiders and activists. California’s March 3 primary is expected to play a more important role than in past years due to its earlier spot on the calendar.

The rally marked the largest presidential campaign event in Oakland since California Sen. Kamala Harris’ kickoff rally in January, which attracted 20,000 people to Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Warren didn’t take crowd questions, which she blamed on the late hour. Instead, she opted to address a few topics she’s been asked about frequently at prior town halls. The first was gun violence.

“It’s not just the mass shootings. It’s the ones that never make the headlines. It’s the kids who are shot at the playground, on the sidewalk, in their own homes. Gun violence touches families every day,” she said. “On the question of gun violence, I will be fearless.”

She also dedicated significant time to student loan debt, the needs of working mothers and the importance of Medicaid, a safety net for millions that often lands in Republican crosshairs.



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