This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
In a stuffy gym at Salt Lake City's West High School, Bernie Sanders rallied with 3,500 supporters on Monday afternoon, while the other four major presidential candidates were speaking at a pro-Israel gathering in the nation's capital.
The event his second in four days in Salt Lake City was a clear sign of how much importance the Democratic candidate places on Tuesday's three contests in Utah, Idaho and Arizona, where he hopes to gain momentum in his bid to catch front-runner Hillary Clinton.
"The people of Utah can send a profound message, and that is, Utah is prepared to fight for a political revolution," he said with a gravely voice worn down after days of similar campaign stops. "The road to the White House heads through the West."
Sanders received possibly his biggest cheer when he mentioned a new Deseret News poll that has him beating Republican Donald Trump in Utah by 11 percentage points in a hypothetical general-election matchup.
"Utah is a conservative state, but it is a state of decent, caring people," the Vermont senator said. "It is a state that doesn't like candidates who insult other people."
While declining to leave the campaign trail, Sanders didn't want to be seen as ignoring the intractable fight between Israel and Palestine. So before the rally, Sanders delivered a 30-minute foreign policy speech in the school's dance studio.
He said it was the speech he would have given if he had attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention in Washington, D.C., though it likely wouldn't have been a big hit before that crowd.
Sanders, who is the only Jewish candidate ever to win a U.S. presidential primary, said Israel must stop the "occupation" of portions of the West Bank and turn over some water rights to the Palestinians. He said only a two-state solution would lead to a lasting peace and that would require Israel to do more to ease the economic pain in Palestine.
At the same time, he called on a complete end to any attack against Israel and a worldwide recognition of the nation's right to exist unharmed.
"These are difficult subjects," he said. "They are hard to talk about for many Americans and for Israelis, but it is clear to me that the path to peace will require tapping into our shared humanity to make hard, but just, decisions."
Sanders also said that only Muslim troops can truly defeat the Islamic State terrorist group in a ground war, though they need the assistance of the United States. He also backed a recent nuclear treaty with Iran and called for a negotiated end to the war in Syria. He said he wouldn't discount military intervention, if elected, but views that only as a last resort.
And he wants to see other nations, particularly wealthy ones, create coalitions to push for change.
"Uncle Sam cannot and should not do it all," Sanders said. "We are not the policemen of the world."
Sanders is clearly not as comfortable speaking about foreign policy as he is about domestic affairs he once again called for a tax on Wall Street speculation, an increase in the minimum wage and a revamping of campaign-finance laws.
"Democracy doesn't mean billionaires buying elections," he said, emphasizing the need for community activism. "Change comes about when people look around them and say the status quo is just not acceptable."
He hit many of the same points he made Friday at This Is the Place Heritage Park before 14,000 people. The three GOP candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich also held events in the state on Friday and Saturday, with the biggest being a little more than 5,000 people who heard Cruz speak in Provo.
The Sanders camp expects to win Utah's caucus vote Tuesday, and it is trying to win by a big margin because 33 delegates will be split proportionately. Four superdelegates will be free to vote for whomever they choose.
On top of the two rallies, Sanders' campaign has spent nearly $315,000 on broadcast TV ads, not to mention paying for radio spots and mailers.
In contrast, Hillary Clinton is the only major party candidate who didn't appear in the state or pay for any ads. Instead, the Clinton camp sent her daughter, Chelsea, to serve as a campaign surrogate last week.
Most of the people at the West High rally were those who, for whatever reason, couldn't make it on Friday. Among them was Andy Rindlisbach, a 28-year-old from West Valley City, who said beyond supporting Sanders' policies, he believes the candidate is in a unique position to spur widespread activism in communities.
"He's awakening the electorate to the power that we have," Rindlisbach said.
For Amber Herrera, 35, of Draper, Monday's rally served two purposes. It allowed her to show her support for her favorite candidate at her first political rally and to expose her two young boys, Samuel, 6, and Gabriel, 3, to politics.
But a few among the crowd were there to see Sanders a second time.
Rob Miller, the former vice chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, attended Sanders' rally Friday and was converted. Hearing the senator talk about the "rigged economy" and the need to reform the criminal-justice system "touched my heart," he said, and so did the massive group of liberals around him.
Miller said: "I saw all of those faces and it really touched me."