Bushwick is Bern-ing for Sanders
Young Brooklynites get behind Bernie Sanders' progressive presidential bid
Top Stories New YorkHillary ClintonElection 2016NewsElectionPoliticsNationalNew York CityPresident Barack ObamaGallery Automatic
Two cold beers, two posters and a freshly screen-printed T-shirt went for $20, Jon Fuhrer told a young man who just walked through the front door into an Bushwick loft apartment last week.
The steady stream of people walking through the front door weren't there for a band or an art show, but rather to show their support for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Sweating through his tropically patterned short-sleeve shirt while the Ramones played in the background, Fuhrer offered his last can of Coors and a Rolling Rock before he reached for a T-shirt emblazoned with the face of the party's man of the hour.
It read: "Bernie is bae."
Fuhrer is one of a small but growing group of young Brooklynites coalescing around Sanders. Calling themselves the Bushwick Berners, the collective has hosted a handful of viewing and organizing parties, with all money raised donated to the local campaign.
"We're seeing new faces every time," Furher said.
Lauren Irwin, 24, sat with a friend on a couch, waiting for the paint to dry on the shirts she brought. It's not her first local Bernie party, but she said it was exciting to see her neighbors be politically active while playing to their strengths.
"Bushwick is known for its D.I.Y., artist community, and this is very fitting to that stereotype," Irwin said. "But people see hipster New York as apathetic. When you have parties like this, people are defying that stereotype."
Wednesday night's screen printing for Bernie gathering eventually brought out more than 100 young residents — including 15 new voters now registered to cast a ballot in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
A native son of Brooklyn, Sanders came out of far-left field in late May as the first challenger to the presumed Democratic nominee former Secretary of State and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Sanders — a sitting Vermont senator and self-identified socialist — has also been riding a swell of populist support from the party's progressive wing, meeting ballooning crowds of thousands in campaign stops across the country.
The Huffington Post's national poll aggregate shows Sanders trailing at 21 percent behind Clinton's 49 percent. Sanders' numbers have been in a steady incline as Clinton's have started to drop less than eight months before the New York primary.
And while Hillary officially launched her campaign on Roosevelt Island in mid-June, the next grassroots event inthe New York City arealisted on the Clinton website is onNov. 7 in Forest Hills.
Moumita Ahmed, who manages multiple Sanders Facebook pages includingMillennials for Bernie, said she hoped to get as many people in the Bushwick loft if not more at an Astoria beer garden on Aug. 26.
Ahmed's is one of 27 grassroots, Sanders-related eventswithin 20 miles of Brooklyn scheduledbefore Clinton's next.
Ahmed said she was just out of high school when she voted for Barack Obama. The older the now 25-year-old said she got, the more disillusioned she became with the Democratic establishment.
"The hope, the change — where was it?" she said, adding that the excitement around Sanders' platform around student debt and Wall Street abuses.
Daniel Brian Jones, 26, already donned an official Bernie T-shirt on before got his new blue screen-printed one.
Jones recognized Sanders' challenge both inside Brooklyn and across the country to overcome Clinton's name recognition and appeal with non-white voters not unlike many of the Latino, working class neighbors who also call Bushwick home.
Still, he beamed with optimism — not unlike all the other 20- and 30-somethings at the party — that they can do their part to convert their peers.
"A Bernie person is someone who's slowed down enough to hear that he's right," Jones said with a smile.