Fresh off a marathon Memorial Day in Oakland and San Francisco where he visited a church, got heckled by animal rights protesters and attended a Warriors game, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders didn’t plan on slowing down.
On Tuesday, in a raspier-than-usual-voice, Sanders spoke to about 100 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals in Emeryville, California about health care and expanding his government-funded "Medicare for All" platform. "We need a radical transformation of the health care system," Sanders said to a sea of health care workers dressed in red. "Health care is a right not a privilege."
Sanders said that 40,000 people die unnecessarily a year because they're not getting the insurance and the medical attention they need - and deserve. He said that insuring people and making sure they go to the doctor is one-tenth the price of an emergency room visit.
Sanders was endorsed by the National Nurses United, where California chapter co-president Deborah Burger spoke Tuesday in suport of the Vermont senator. The union, which says it was the first national union to back Sanders, said members especially like Sanders' voting record on the Affordable Care Act, and his "Robin Hood" approach to tax Wall Street, that could "raise hundreds of billions of dollars annual to pay for healthcare for all."
After Emeryville, the Sanders entourage planned to head down the coast to Santa Cruz for a rally at the Kaiser Permanente Arena. On Wednesday, Sanders will appear in Palo Alto for a rally at Cubberley Community Center Fields on Middlefield Road. He spent much of his campaign stops in Oakland talking about racial justice and economic disparity, where at one point he got heckled by animal rights protesters. He capped the evening off by cheering on the basketball team and posing for selfies at the Warriors game at Oracle Arena.
It's clear that Sanders, who trails behind Hillary Clinton by just two percentage points in California, is hoping for a fate similar to the Warriors. The basketball team was facing a 3-1 deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals before they rallied and beat them Monday night, 96-88.
With the California primary about a week away, the latest Public Policy Institute of California survey showed Clinton leading Sanders 46 percent to 44 percent among Democrats and independents likely to vote on June 7. The Hoover Institution Golden State Poll, however, on Tuesday released its own poll, showing Clinton has a 13-point lead over Sanders, 51 percent to 38 percent.
And just like the Warriors' MVP Steph Curry, who continues to wow audiences with his famous 3-pointers, Sanders is also hoping to curry some of that same favor with voters.
"Last week, Golden State was down three games to one," Sanders tweeted as he attended the game and was seen laughing and swarmed by adoring fans. "Tonight, they finished off a great comeback in California. I like comebacks."