Voting graffiti found on 16th Street.

With the June 7 primary two weeks away, those wishing to vote in the California elections must register by midnight on Monday and if  a two-hour-long walk through the Mission District Friday is of any measure, Bernie Sanders will sweep the neighborhood.  

Interviews with numerous Mission District residents echoed a general enthusiasm for voting, seemingly sparked by the 74-year-old presidential hopeful in particular.

“Bernie’s the man,” said Jessica McGehee, a bartender, adding that she registered early this year because she felt strongly that her “voice needed to be heard.” “His values definitely match those closest to my own.”

(If you haven’t registered to vote, go here now.)

And just as the majority of local candidates running for the seat of Mission District supervisor in the upcoming November 8 elections have expressed their support for the Vermont senator, conversations with community members revealed a “Berning” desire to elect a national leader who embodies the neighborhood’s progressive values and promises to address issues of local concern, such as growing wealth disparities, homelessness and economic opportunity.  

“I’m voting for Sanders, and so are my kids,” said Alfredo Meza, a local doctor and Mission resident. “I think his philosophy and ideas are most consistent with the needs of disenfranchised people in San Francisco and across the nation.”

Meza speculated that a lot of “young people in America” identify with Sanders’s politics over those of other candidates, including former first lady Hillary Clinton and business titan Donald Trump, because of an authenticity “in his concern for the well-being of the middle class.”

“The lower middle class, the poor people, and the young people, they are all suffering because the politics in this country have become so degenerate,” said Meza. “Many of [the younger people] have lost trust in this system.

That sentiment comes as pre-primary voter registration is the highest it’s ever been in California, beating out even 2012 levels, according to the Chronicle. Most of those registering to cast their ballot for either Clinton or Sanders are young and Democratic, the Chronicle said.

Statistics released earlier this year showed the Mission District gave the most money to Sanders of any zip code in America, and if his donors turn out on election day, the insurgent senator may see a boost in his numbers from the neighborhood.

At least two Trump supporters were found among the “Bernie” believers. Dan Cashen and Emily Robb, who work as engineers in Michigan and said they “flip properties” in their spare time, said that they already voted in their state’s primary and were unapologetic about their choice.

“I know everyone says that they don’t want to hire a CEO as president, but the reality is that this country is a business,” said Cashen. “And right now, this business is not running well.”

“College for free? Forgiving loans? That will collapse our economy,” added Robb. “People who vote for Sanders don’t understand the math.”

Still, the majority of those interviewed seemed to like the math.

“I’ve waited my whole life to be inspired by a candidate the way I have been by Bernie,” said Matt Fishbeck, a local artist. “In past elections, I have always checked out. But this time I’m all in because I think he’s most likely to say what we need a president to say — that there are too many poor people sleeping on the street and not enough rich people in jail.”

With his commitment to make education free at public colleges and minimizing student loan debt, Sanders speaks to the mounting pressures that many of San Francisco’s millennials experience while transitioning into the workforce in an increasingly unaffordable city.

“He talks about student debt. People of our parents’ generations don’t understand how crippling that is for us,” said Amy Wolfish, who works at a local non-profit. “We are struggling so much with earning enough money to get off our feet and to pay off our loans.”

Her friend, Malina Syvoravong, said that she too has registered and will be voting for Sanders, and has encouraged many of her friends to do the same.

“I wish the day of the primaries was a state holiday where everybody has to vote,” said Syvoravong. “It’s that important.”

Social media played a significant part in generating interest and creating dialogue around the elections among voters. On Monday, a two-day Facebook campaign reminding users of upcoming registration deadlines resulted in a spike that saw some 200,000 people register to vote or update their registrations in California.
“My friend just today posted on Snapchat that she got her voter ballot in the mail, and she’s been using it to spread political awareness,” said Alicia Grogan. “Social media helps encourage others [to vote] because they are curious about what you’re doing and want to know why you’re doing it.”

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  1. Be sure to vote NO on Proposition B. Why? Because of Dolores Park and Mission Playground.
    A recent news item on a local blog let the public know that the Recreation and Park Department is now charging people to sit on the grass in Dolores Park. Rec and Park stated that this was a ‘pilot’ program, but, as everyone knows, ‘pilot’ program is Rec-and-Park-Department-speak for, “This is what we are going to do. Tough.”
    This is the direction that our Recreation and Park Department has taken for our parks — continued privatization and monetization, and loss of park use for those who are unable to pay-to-play. And heaven forbid that a family just decides to go sit on the grass on the spur of the moment.
    After the Dolores Park story broke, at least two Supervisors spoke up. Rec and Park then did an about face and decided to suspend this program – for now. Could it be that this is because the Board of Supervisors still has budget power over Rec and Park?
    If Proposition B passes in June, the Board would lose that budget power over the Department and the public would lose control over what happens in their parks. In addition to the privatization of our clubhouses and the move by RPD to give over the Palace of Fine Arts to a private hotel for 55 years, this is a preview of what is to come if RPD is granted the $4.5 billion in Proposition B — all without outside controls!
    :Learn more at: http://www.sfvotenopropositionb.info/

  2. The Write-In Petrelis 4 State Senate D11 Team is properly registered and ready to vote for Bernie on June 7, He’s been an amazing candidate and we’re proud to display his signs in our windows facing the street.

  3. Why dream of Bernie, when you can just hop a plane to Venezuela to experience all the glories of Socialism Right now?