Much can be said about the various candidates eyeing the White House, but when one of them stops by to visit their supporters, local residents come out in flocks and go wild.
That certainly was the case Friday afternoon as Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders rolled through Bakersfield to hold a Get Out the Early Vote rally. Thousands of Sanders supporters who "feel the Bern" came out to let the candidate know he has their vote for the March 3 primary.
"I gotta tell you from up here, you look beautiful," Sanders said as he stepped out on the Spectrum Amphitheatre stage and was met with thunderous applause and cheers.
In about half an hour, Sanders touched on issues and topics that, if elected, would be at the forefront of his presidency — reducing income and wealth inequality, tackling climate change, introducing a Medicare for All health insurance program, ending voter suppression and fighting for women's rights.
"Medicare for All is definitely the top one for me," said Bakersfield resident Amy Murch about what issue drew her to support Sanders. "Just the fact that we need to provide citizens what even Mexico is able to provide for its citizens. We are good enough to do that."
When addressing health care, Sanders said it is a human right, not privilege, and the United States can't continue to be the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all people.
Under his Medicare for All, single-payer program, Sanders promises that there will be no more premiums, copayments, deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses and individuals will spend no more than $200 a year for prescription drugs. The crowd cheered louder for each point.
He also discussed how climate change is a moral issue and people must leave the planet in a way that is healthy and inhabitable for future generations. That means, he said, moving away from fossil fuels to renewable and sustainable energy sources.
"You have seen what the wildfires have done to this state. I was in Paradise a number of months ago, what I saw was heartbreaking, it was unbelievable, it was devastating," Sanders said. "Turn on the TV today, watch Australia, a beautiful country, burning up before our eyes."
Though much of the rally focused on his ideas, he didn't hold back on his criticisms of President Donald Trump or fellow Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg.
Sanders called the president a "racist," "sexist," "homophobe," "xenophobe" and "religious bigot." He also brought up a moment from Wednesday's Democratic primary debate where Bloomberg's billionaire status was discussed. When asked whether he deserved his $65 billion, Bloomberg said he worked hard for it.
"And I'm sure he did. But you know what, he's not the only person who works hard in America," Sanders said.
What his campaign and administration is about, Sanders explained, is making sure "all of our people in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world can live with security and dignity."
No visible protesters were seen at the rally, but a few individuals with Trump 2020 flags attached to their vehicles were driving around The Park at River Walk and along Stockdale Highway.
Other local activists also hit the stage to discuss Sanders' approach to issues most pressing to the Central Valley. Cal State Bakersfield student and immigrant rights activist Andrea Guevara discussed the recent failed vote to open two immigrant detention facilities in McFarland earlier this week, which she said "have no place in our society," and commended Sanders for pledging to put a stop to private prisons.
Those who attended Friday's rally said they feel like they have found a candidate who has their backs and will fight for them. Francisco Nava, who came from Stockton for the event, expressed he has been let down by the government for some time, but Sanders "just gives me hope again."
Sanders ended his rally by asking attendees to head to the polls on March 3 and stand up for what they think is right.
"How can we stop the movement of millions of people who are standing up for justice? I got news for the Republican establishment ... Democratic establishment, they can't stop us," Sanders exclaimed. "When we stand together, nothing is gonna stop us."