PLAYA VISTA- Upwards of 1500 people -- many wearing Bass for Mayor t-shirts and/or with children in tow -- came out to the Bandshell at Playa Vista Central Park Thursday evening for a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) Rally for mayoral candidate Karen Bass featuring Bernie Sanders.
On the way past the sign-in table, anti-war protestors in hazmat suits cautioned attendees of a nuclear fallout that was inevitable if war with Russia ensues. Under a clear, autumnally cool sky, upbeat music with a suitably multi-generational appeal (Madonna, Abba, Bruno Mars, Stevie Wonder) played at a cheerful, sub-rock-concert volume.
The hour long presentation featured five minute blocks of speakers and entertainers who implored the crowd -- in pep rally fashion -- to not only vote, but encourage others to do so as well.
They were reminded of Bass's long record as an elected official and lifelong membership in the Democratic Party.
After about an hour, Bass was introduced and emerged to much applause. She introduced her daughter and grandson to the crowd, then spoke excitedly about feeling at home as an "Angeleno, not a tourist." As joyful and energetic as she was, it was easy to detect relief (and slight disbelief) in her voice when she said, "We've only got 12 days to go" before the election.
Bass spoke about the "40,000 people sleeping on the street tonight, and the five who might not wake up", as well as the "regular Angelenos who have to work multiple jobs" to afford to live here. She then directed her introduction of Vermont's Junior Senator at the group of young supporters on risers behind Bass - a few in either UCLA or USC t-shirts, all holding up signs -- noting how much "young people love Bernie".
After entering to rapturous applause and John Lennon's "Power to the People", Sander implored the crowd not to hand over their city to a billionaire (he famously despises them), and then pivoted to a now familiar stump speech decrying corporate greed, wealth inequality and a climate in crisis. When one of the anti-war protestors heckled him, demanding he "stop supporting the Russian war", Sanders, with spunky outrage that belied his age, merely spoke louder. He ended by reminding the crowd that we are "in a fight for Democracy" and with one more reminder to vote for Bass, who closed the evening arm and arm with the populist hero, waving and smiling to the upheld cell phones of the delighted crowd.
A poll released in early October by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) conducted in late September found that Bass's opponent, Rick Caruso, had made a startling comeback and was only three point behind Bass.
The poll showed that Bass is still leading Caruso 34% to 31%, with a large percentage of 31% still undecided. While Caruso is still down, the poll highlighted how much ground he had retaken since a late August poll that showed Caruso being down 12 points.