Bernie Sanders came home Friday.
“You all know I was born in another world called Brooklyn,” he said to an excited crowd at a fundraiser blocks from the Times Square Q train.
It’s been a busy week for Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont. On Monday, he addressed a different type of crowd at Liberty University, the Christian college in Virginia not often known as a stopping point for Democratic presidential candidates. Mid-week, he live-tweeted the second Republican presidential debate. On Friday, he was in Manhattan, where everyone was on the same page.
“We love you,” a supporter yelled toward the end.
“I love you, too,” Sanders said, and grinned.
It was a moment for him to double down with the fervor of an angry, righteous professor, about the world outside the “parallel universe” of Wednesday’s debate, and he did it with the comfort of the home-town hero returned: addressing the missing topics of income inequality, institutional racism, campaign finance, criminal justice reform and free public tuition.
Tuition reform got one of the largest ovations of the afternoon.
Amedeo Corey, 18, said it was a reason Sanders appealed to him. “I have to pay $7,000 for Brooklyn College tuition,” he said.
“He can win if people take a moment, have an open mind, hear what he has to say,” said Traci Strickland, 36.
“I got choked up. Very moving,” said Joe Pisano, 57.
“I talked to his wife, it was amazing!” a woman said into her phone as she left the auditorium.
The ushers quickly moved people out to the street, just like a Broadway show. Like a good Broadway show, no one wanted to leave. A man with a T-shirt that used an expletive in support of Sanders directed traffic.
The Berniemobile was waiting, for selfie after selfie.
Mark Chiusano is a member of Newsday’s editorial board.