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Sanders Fires Up Lexington Crowd, Takes Aim At Trump

AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign showed no signs of winding down Wednesday night as supporters crowded inside the Lexington Convention Center to catch a glimpse of the candidate.

"Let Kentucky help lead this nation into the political revolution," the Independent-turned-Democratic presidential contender ended his remarks.

Coming off a surprise win in a bordering state, Sanders flexed his rhetorical muscle in Louisville Tuesday night before a crowd of roughly 7,000 at Waterfront Park. In Lexington, the lawmaker stuck with the themes that have won him a devoted following across the country: combating wealth inequality, raising the minimum wage to $15, moving toward a single-payer healthcare system.

Speaking on his free college tuition plan Sanders urged the audience to "not allow anybody to tell you that that is a radical idea," adding that the proposal is a "very common sense" move Germany, Scandinavia, and other countries have already made.

The democratic socialist steered clear of addressing his uphill delegate climb against challenger Hillary Clinton, instead training his fire on the apparent Republican nominee – who saw his remaining opponents suspend their campaigns this week.

"I know that there is a lot of nervousness around this country that Donald Trump may become president," Sanders recited to a loud chorus of boos. "Ain't gonna happen!"

Although the fiery business mogul took the lion’s share of votes in Kentucky’s GOP caucus in March with nearly 36 percent, Sanders touted polls that show his campaign beating Trump by large margins in general election matchups.

Following the rally, Bernie backers remained energized. One fully decked out Lexington supporter, Allison Sullivan, said the senator’s populist message and straightforward style resonate in the commonwealth.

"He tells it like it is. He tells the truth. He says we've got to stop being so afraid of ourselves basically and do the things other countries are doing that actually work," she told WUKY.

Overcoming Clinton’s delegate lead will be a tall order, but the senator appeared no less committed to the fight during his Lexington visit. If Kentucky is going to swing into Sanders' column, however, it's up to Allison and voters like her to translate the excitement on display Wednesday into foot traffic at the polls May 17.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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