MANCHESTER, N.H. — Sen. Bernie Sanders scored an early victory in New Hampshire today, marking a solid start to the primaries and reminding the Democratic electorate of the strength in his left-leaning message. “Our campaign is not just about beating Trump. It’s about changing this country,” Sanders said in his victory speech.
The event drew many supporters who say they’ve been following the candidate since his 2016 run. In New Hampshire, they were looking for a similar outcome to four years ago when Sanders swept Clinton in New Hampshire, but a different result in the primary overall.
“There’s a more powerful wave of progressive change in response to President Trump, so I’m hopeful that culturally we’re ready for a big shift,” Kate Peters, 37, said.
The Manchester resident, who brought her young daughter to Sanders’ rally and is pregnant with a due date in a few weeks, said she voted for Sanders today and in 2016 “to be a good example.”
In his speech, Sanders touched on signature policy issues like healthcare, climate change and criminal justice.
For some New Hampshire voters at the rally, like Jihyon Im, 30, it’s consistency on issues that inspires her support — “the fact that he’s been standing for the same values, standing for the same principles for a very long time,” she said.
In the upcoming weeks, the Vermont senator must face the continuing strength of moderate competitor Pete Buttigieg, who finished with fewer votes than him but the same number of electoral delegates, as well as the other candidates still in the race.
“We’re taking on billionaires, and we’re taking on candidates funded by billionaires,” Sanders said, echoing his frequent criticisms of Buttigieg taking money from the ultra-rich.
To a backdrop of “Bernie beats Trump” chants, however, Bernie reassured his supporters New Hampshire is “the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.”