Bernie Sanders to speak at campaign rally in Irvine

- Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders Sunday told thousands of supporters that he is the best choice to defeat Donald Trump in the November election.

Sanders concluded a two-day campaign swing through San Diego County on Sunday by speaking to an estimated 6,500 cheering fans at the Rancho Buena Vista High School stadium in Vista. Attendees began lining up outside the venue early this morning to secure their spot in the stadium.

"I think the objective evidence is very clear that in virtually every national poll and every state poll, we defeat Trump by larger numbers than does Secretary Clinton,'' Sanders said to a roaring crowd. "So I say to every
Democrat in this country and those delegates who are going to the convention in Philadelphia, if you want the strongest candidate to make sure that Trump does not become president, we are that campaign.''

It's not just the poll numbers that Sanders cited to make his point during his hour-long speech.

"Anybody who looks at Secretary Clinton's campaign and our campaign understands that the enthusiasm and the energy and the drive is with us,'' he said. "And when there is energy and people are prepared to stand up and fight for a better America, voter turnout goes higher. And when voter turnout goes high, progressives and Democrats win.''

Sanders hit on many of the same themes that he has throughout his campaign, including the environment, immigration, health care, education, income equality and unemployment. He asked the crowd at the beginning of his appearance if they were ready for a political revolution.

"Our vision of social justice, of economic justice, of racial justice and of environmental justice, our vision is the future of this country and I hope that the leadership of the Democratic Party understands it must be the vision of the Democratic Party.''

Sanders, 74, a self-described socialist who would be the nation's first Jewish president, urged the crowd to vote for him in the June 7 California primary and to recruit others to do the same. It was his second public event in the San Diego area in two days. He appeared Saturday night at Kimball Park in National City.

Sanders was scheduled to appear later this evening at the Irvine Amphitheater in Orange County. He is also scheduled for campaign events in East Los Angeles and Santa Monica on Monday, then at the Anaheim Convention Center on Tuesday.

Sanders' opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will be in Los Angeles for two fund-raisers on Monday, then public events on Tuesday and Wednesday before appearing in San Jose on Thursday.

Businessman Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, is scheduled to appear at the Anaheim Convention Center on Wednesday and at the San Diego Convention Center on Friday.

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