Turn up, tune in, Bern out: Sanders supporters say not all of Bushwick is behind Brooklyn’s son

Old and new: Old-school Bushwickians may not know who Bernie is, but they love Hillary, according to a group of Sanders supporters there.
Brooklyn Paper
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Not all of Bushwick can feel the Bern.

A band of hipster Brooklyn Bushwickans on the stump for Bernie Sanders from inside local industrial loft spaces is having a tough time convincing old-school neighbors to get out and vote for Brooklyn’s son, say the passionate organizers.

“There’s the original Bushwick community and the gentrified Bushwick community,” said Magenna Brink of the Bushwick Berners, who regularly gather to call voters over some brews while they plan their door-to-door outreach at their Forrest Street headquarters as well as the notorious McKibbin Street lofts. “The gentrified community, with all the hipsters and the young kids, are totally behind Bernie. The other community is kind of half-and-half.”

The Berners say they have hit the streets to spread the word about their candidate of choice only to find many of the native residents are either not enamored with Sanders’s socialist policies or completely unaware he exists.

“In the lower-income communities, there were a ton of people who said they were Hillary supporters, but they didn’t even know who Bernie Sanders was,” said Brink.

But the activists are not discouraged by the blank stares, said Brink — they are passionate about spreading the word, and they have had some luck evangelizing to those ignorant of Bernie during their door-to-door canvassing outings.

Meanwhile, hardcore Hillary fans tend to be immovable — and Bushwick’s Trump supporters, which the group can confirm exist, prove pretty difficult to sway as well.

“Sometimes people have just wandered into our parties who are Trump supporters and started arguments,” she said.

The group also hosts ultra-hip voter registration events out of local bars to encourage folks to rock the vote, and musicians in the group throw ragers to rally around the cause — most recently, local rockers Future Punx put on a “Rock for Bernie: Revolution on the Dance Floor” benefit concert to raise money for a group of volunteers looking to canvas the windy city before the Illinois primary.

The activists also distributes hipster-friendly swag, such as T-shirts emblazoned with “Bernie is Bae” and reefer-themed stickers that spell out “I love Bernie” with a green, leafy heart — paraphernalia the group tends to distribute only in ultra-liberal settings, said Brink, but that tend to go over pretty well in their ’hood.

“Bushwick is a great place for pot stickers,” said Brink.

Follow the group’s upcoming phone banks, viewing parties, and benefit concerts at, or visit its Facebook page at

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
Of course, not a single Clinton supporter could be found for this article about how some people support her. Instead, Clinton supporters are just unaware or ignorant.

Have Bernie supporters considered putting more memes on Facebook?
March 8, 2016, 9:37 am
Miguel from Bushwick says:
You come in here and take over our neighborhood and look down on us and push out and you expect us to listen to you? When did you ever listen to us when you were moving in here?

This is not true of all the newer residents, of course. But I expect it is true of these people. I am not going to get into the specifics of candidates, but this has the tone of colonizers in places like South America, Australia, and Africa and trying to "civilize" the indigenous people.

People who are not treated with respect tend not to listen to those who disrespect them.

We in Bushwick -- and Williamsburg, and Ridgewood, and Crown Heights, and in similar neighborhoods in Brooklyn, NYC, and all over the gentrifying communities of the U.S. were and are prepared to welcome new residents and have them join us. But you can't come in and disparage our past in the neighborhood and have the attitude that we were "nowhere" before you came and expect us to listen to you about politics or anything else.

As I said, this is not all the newcomers or "hipsters": I have met a number of them who have come to our community to listen, not just to talk at us.
March 8, 2016, 10:23 am
Miguel from Bushwick says:
BTW, Hillary Clinton came to Bushwick a number of times in 2000, when she ran for the U.S. Senate for the first time. A lot of us have been helped by our local members of Congress and our U.S. senators. Clinton and her staff served Brooklynites when we contacted her (most of the time). Many of us know her and like her. You would say we are too dumb to understand she is a liar or corporatist or whatever names you call her. And of course you will not ever try to listen to us and maybe consider our opinions because we are not smart enough or wealthy enough to have degrees from Oberlin or Sarah Lawrence or Bennington.

What the Bernie Sanders supporters should try to do is mobilize their base. "Hipsters" didn't bother to register for the 2010 Census (see stories in old issues of the Brooklyn Paper and elsewhere), and they didn't vote in 2010 or 2014. Do you even know who your member of the City Council or State Senate or State Assembly or Congress is?

We have our own neighborhood political and social and cultural organizations. We vote. Instead of trying to "convert" us to your socialist religion, maybe you should get your own kind to attend church -- the ballot box -- more often.
March 8, 2016, 10:31 am
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
I'll be thrilled with either Bernie or Hillary winning in November. This election is not between hipster invaders and local mooks. The main and only objective is keeping the orange demagouge, or his ultra fundy rival as far away from the nuclear football as possible.
March 8, 2016, 11:53 am
b from gp says:
How would Bernie ever manage to bridge the divide? At least Clinton knows how to hustle amongst the players. I don't think Trump's scariness is not without benefit, as it has probably rattled a lot of people awake.
March 8, 2016, 12:45 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
'“Bushwick is a great place for pot stickers,” said Brink.'

I thought this was an article about politics, not dim sum.
March 8, 2016, 1:23 pm
Mustafa Khant from Atlantic Ave says:
Bernie is HOW old?
March 8, 2016, 4:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
My vote is still for Hillary and that's despite what she is being accused for.
March 8, 2016, 4:45 pm
Eric from Williamsburg says:
As an incubated New Yorker, even I'm aware of the chances Sanders has as a Jewish candidate, to win an American election. Or would Trump really steer votes in Sanders' direction?
March 8, 2016, 5 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
I remember when Hillary visited many Brooklyn neighborhoods in 2000. Then after getting elected to the Senate, she voted to deny marriage rights to same sex couples and also tried to ban Mortal Kombat. Yeah, what a great track record. Feel the Bern.
March 9, 2016, 12:05 am
Alice says:
Let's try not to start another sociopathic Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Oddly enough this comment is directed towards Miguel and not Barney the purple dinosaur and his backyard gang.
March 9, 2016, 5:51 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Jim, these days Hillary does support same-sex marriage and even has a lot of LGBTQ groups supporting her, so she has changed her stance on homosexuals in the last decade.
March 9, 2016, 4:26 pm
Homey from Crooklyn says:
More gibs me dats for everyone! Yeah!
March 10, 2016, 1:20 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
The only Hillary supporters to be found are those writing articles about Bernie being sexist or whitest or whatever nonsense they come up with.
March 10, 2016, 9:41 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
No one other than baby boomers wants to see any more baby boomers in office. I don't care how old Bernie is, he is not a self serving boomer and he's got my vote.
March 11, 2016, 12:34 am

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