photo essays

Bernie Sanders and The Strokes Merged a Political Rally with a Rock Show

Sanders declared the event New Hampshire's largest political rally ever. It also may have been the only one to ever feature crowd surfing.

by Peter Voelker; photos by Peter Voelker
Feb 11 2020, 6:43pm

Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and The Strokes were on the bill for a one-of-a-kind rally at the University of New Hampshire's Whittemore Arena last night, and thousands stood in the cold for hours to get into the overbooked event. NYC-based Sunflower Bean opened the show, and Rep Ocasio-Cortez later acknowledged front person Julia Cumming for her longstanding commitment to social justice. Cynthia Nixon, and Dr. Cornel West, and Nina Turner all addressed the crowd, too, before Ocasio-Cortez took the stage to introduce Sanders.

Joined onstage by his wife, kids, and grandkids, Senator Sanders proclaimed the night to be the largest political rally to take place ever in the state and gave a speech centered around what is practical versus what is radical. He made his pitch for Medicare For All and student debt relief, and pointed out the out contradiction between having the budget for neverending wars and the idea that the United States of America (“the richest nation in the world”) can't afford Medicare for All.

But when Sanders introduced the Strokes, the rally entered a unique phase. Have you ever seen anyone crowd surf at a political rally? Probably not, and even if you have, it's unlikely that you've seen a crowd push through the barrier to reach the stage at an event like this. The energy of the crowd continued to escalate as the show went on. At one point, police surrounded the stage in an effort to regain control and ensure the safety of the crowd, but a mid-set video presentation caused things to calm down. When the video ended, frontman Julian Casablancas told the audience the police had safety concerns, and they would play one last favorite. They closed with their 2001 song New York City Cops, pushing the envelope to the max as Casablancas invited the crowd to join the stage, and officers tried to get them off. There couldn't have been a more perfect moment.


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Tagged:
new hampshire
Bernie Sanders
The Strokes
Strokes
2020 election
AOC
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez