Democratic presidential rival candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton are already winners in New York but will underscore recent gains during a debate slated for the Duggal Greenhouse, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on April 14.
Focused on sealing nomination victories here, the two recently carved out distinct territories from the five boroughs to kick-off their campaign to win the April 19 New York Democratic, primary.
On a visit here, Brooklyn-born Sanders rallied uptown and downtown in two separate boroughs, the former secretary of state decided to make Harlem her main stage to campaign.
Cheered by thousands of believers who endorse the “feel the Bern” mantra, the Vermont senator all but championed the masses in Brooklyn and the Bronx while the former first lady and Democratic frontrunner staked her claim as the candidate of choice from the stage of the world famous Apollo Theatre.
Inside the landmark showplace renowned for being the headquarters “where stars are born and dreams are made” Clinton proved she was no amateur contender but a proven winner as six-year senator to represent the state.
Reminiscent of a visit Barack Obama made to Harlem when he mimicked Al Green singing “Let’s Stay Together,” Clinton faced a favorable crowd of 1,500 already decided she is the winning presidential hopeful to win the confidence of a majority of Democrats.
During Obama’s 2007 Apollo Theater appearance, City Councilmember Bill Perkins, intellectual Cornel West and comedian Chris Rock introduced a candidate that advocated and also imprinted a national “Yes We Can” slogan for change.
The majority populations of Blacks and Latinos embraced the message and with a Spanish translation to “Si Se Puede” the catchy phrase proved endearing to young voters who helped to elect the first of his race to win the presidency.
Recently, the first Black president of the United States recalled the three words in an inspiring address to the people of Cuba.
On this recent campaign, just blocks away from the address Clinton’s husband conducted business after leaving the White House crowds greeted her with signs reading “Welcome Home.”
A throwback to the greeting the former president received when he was welcomed in Harlem by scores of fans that brandished card-board fans that read “I’m a fan of Bill Clinton,” there was jubilation in the air.
It was Harlem Congressman Charles B. Rangel in deference to downtown office renters that invited the former president to set up office at 125th St. after he vacated the White House.
On this go-round, Cong. Rangel and Sen. Charles Schumer — elder statesmen representing the state — watched from orchestra seats as the campaign to kick-off the NYC campaign unfolded.
The former secretary of state talked politics from the place Michael Jackson, James Brown, Bob Marley, and so many iconic legendary personalities cemented their careers.
“Republicans say that when I talk like this I’m playing the gender card. My answer is very simple. If fighting for equal pay and for a minimum wage is playing the gender card, then deal me in!”
Confident of winning endorsement as the first female to be elected president of the USA, Clinton focused on inclusiveness, equality and squarely confronted issues of gender and race.
On each and every reference, she received unanimous applause as if a winner of the theater’s popular, weekly, amateur contest that pits a variety of contestants.
In introducing the avowed “winner,” Sen. Schumer pointed out that the only female contender for the highest office in the nation and former senator had represented New York and is technically a New Yorker.
“She may not always talk like us Brooklynites talk,” Sen. Schumer said, “But when she speaks out, she changes minds, she changes hearts, she moves to action and she changes outcomes.”
It was a clear reference to Sen. Sander’s borough-distinct accent.
Harlem resident and Broadway actress Renee Elise Goldsberry sang her praises. Now appearing in the musical “Hamilton,” Goldsberry rendered the national anthem to add show time to the Apollo appearance.
Downtown, supporters showed up to the Gowanus section to open the Brooklyn headquarters where they will toil to convince voters to endorse the candidate who currently boasts the catchiest campaign slogan with “feel the Bern.”
At Eighth Street near Third Aenue, Sen. Sanders supporters embraced the mantra wearing T-shirts and carrying signs flaunting the phrase.
Uptown, the New England representative rallied with film director Spike Lee, actress Rosario Dawson and 20,000 believers to woo voters in the South Bronx.
Jumpstarting the NYC primary campaign he won kudos as the first presidential candidate to campaign in the Bronx community in recent years. The strategy proved a winner with celebrities vigorously endorsing the campaign that has gained traction with young voters and seems to be energizing a traditional constituency within the Democratic Party.
The two “winners” will face-off in Kings County during a debate on April 14. Slated to air on CNN and NY1at 9 pm, Wolf Blitzer will moderate the ninth Democratic debate. Assisting with questions throughout will be local reporters Dana Bash and Errol Louis.
The NYC primary is slated for April 19.
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