Bernie Sanders at George Mason University

Sanders’ stump speech is heavy on facts – about wealth inequality, marijuana arrest rates, young-voter turnout – and short on rhetorical lift. But amid the fierce statistical urgency of his pitch, a moment of raw emotional power emerges. A Sudanese-American student who wears a blue hijab, pinned with a Bernie 2016 button, asks Sanders how he can counter Trump and Ben Carson “bashing Muslims.”

Sanders motions the student, Remaz Abdelgader, up to the stage, pulling her into a hug. “Let me be very personal,” he says. “My father’s family died in concentration camps.” The tableau of a bald white Jew from Vermont embracing a young black Muslim woman to denounce America’s “ugly stain of racism” has the audience fighting back tears.

After the rally, Abdelgader, an aspiring human rights lawyer, is euphoric, declaring without a trace of irony, “I feel like he’s my Jewish dad.”

Keep on rocking in the Free World. We need more people to get on board the Freedom Train.

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