Sanders gains young voter support in New Hampshire

Bernie Sanders shook the hands of his supporters after winning the New Hampshire primary Tuesday in Manchester, N.H. Photo by Matteo Venieri / BU News Service

By Camila Beiner
BU News Service

MANCHESTER – The Southern New Hampshire University Field House is practically vibrating as the crowd roars, welcoming Sen. Bernie Sanders to the stage after a narrow victory at the New Hampshire primaries. And while the presidential hopeful is in his late seventies, some of his loudest supporters are nearly fifty years his junior. 

They came in droves to his headquarters, rallying behind the man they feel will best champion their big-ticket issues, including climate change, healthcare and free higher education.

Among them was Jeronimo Pinto, 17, a high school student who traveled from New York to support Sanders, who he believes can bring people together. 

“The movement that has rallied behind Bernie Sanders in my view is such a beautiful and unprecedented movement,” Pinto said. “Having working-class people of all origins coming together and fighting for mutual interests I think is a beautiful thing that this country desperately needs.”

Pinto was among many young people at Sanders’ rally at the Southern New Hampshire University Field House, where the senator greeted an enthusiastic crowd who had been waiting hours to celebrate his win. 

Pinto called Sanders an authentic and honest candidate because he remained true to his policies.

“Trump was a non-status quo candidate and people are tired of the same people being logical politicians,” Pinto said. “People are tired of having their wealth and their labor stolen and Trump tapped into that but they are realizing Trump hasn’t gone through with his promises.”

Pinto said he believes Sanders has a chance of winning because he maintains true to his promises and cares about issues of emancipation, equity and justice.

“We spoke to a man earlier today who had told a story, a really terrible story, about how his girlfriend had died because she couldn’t afford health care,” Pinto said. “The fact that Bernie is listening to these people who have long been ignored is the reason people are standing behind him.”

Alex Bostic said he graduated from the University of New Hampshire college a year ago and is weighed down by a $35,000 dollar student loan debt. That’s one of the reasons he supported Sanders, who is campaigning on a free college education.

“There is a solution in social mobilization and empowerment and that only comes from ideas that are going to break away from tradition,” Bostic said. 

Bostic also feels people in his generation are very passionate and want that passion turned into real action.

“He grew this entire policy platform and I am not sure how much can get through with Congress but that is not our problem right now, but right now we have the power to vote for it.”

Bostic said he attended a Sanders rally on Saturday where he was stuck outside with about 30 other people who had traveled from New York because the building was at capacity. Following his speech inside, Sanders came outside to deliver the same speech to everyone who never made it in, he said.  

“It was Bernie in his element because he was freezing, we were freezing and in that moment he was really able to connect on a common ground literally and figuratively,” Bostic said, “so I think he does a really good job of finding what makes people motivated and preaching to that.”

Twenty-one-year-old Julianna Hromis, who studies environmental science at Southern New Hampshire University, said Bernie Sanders could tackle issues of climate change in the U.S., which is one of her greatest passions. 

“I really hope that the green new deal moves in the right direction because I am all for that and getting rid of the of the fossil fuels industry, which is super important going towards our future,” Hromis said. 

Hromis argued Sanders has been fighting for issues young people care about for several years, including public college and health care. If Sander wins, she hopes to see a government that is geared more towards all people, rather than the wealthy. 

Hannah Rose, 20, a communications student at Southern New Hampshire University, said this election specifically has large international implications in regard to trade and climate change. 

“I would like to see a direct change and policy for climate change, adapting to that and taking it seriously listening to students and young people around the world about the problems with climate change,” Rose said.

This election is very personal to her because, as someone who is Canadian and still does not have the right to vote, she believes Bernie has the best international policies.

“Overall, I want to see a lot less division among the American people and also across the world, a lot more respect for refugees and people of color and people of different religions,” Rose said. “Less identification with party politics and more identifying as Americans and identifying as a human race.”

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