Two years after a tough loss in South Carolina’s Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders returned Saturday to the state where he said his progressive message is resonating more strongly than before.
In an interview with The Associated Press following a rally attended by roughly 1,000 supporters, Sanders said, “The day is going to come, sooner than people believe, that South Carolina is going to become a progressive state.”
“We have helped transform political consciousness in this country,” the Vermont independent said.
Sanders’ trip to the home of this first-in-the-South presidential primary came as part of a swing through several other states with early positions on the primary calendar. Next up was Iowa. A visit to Nevada was planned for next week.
The South Carolina trip differed from many of Sanders’ other stops, where he’s stumping with congressional candidates. None of them campaigned with him in South Carolina, with some young Democratic leaders in the state eschewing his trip as a self-serving exercise.
Still, Sanders received thunderous applause from his crowd of supporters.
“So there are progressives in South Carolina! I was told that nobody would come out to a meeting like this,” Sanders said. “Thank you all very much for being here.”
The trip was billed as a “Medicare for All” rally at the behest of Our Revolution, an offshoot of Sanders’ 2016 presidential effort.
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