Sanders courts African-American voters

strong>FAIRFAX, Va. — As Sen. Bernie Sanders made a nationwide pitch to young progressive college students on Wednesday night, he attempted to widen his base to minority voters, but was met with some skepticism.

Young, Caucasian liberals have traditionally been in Sanders' wheelhouse, yet he has struggled to gain traction in the African-American community. While the crowd at his National Student Town Hall at George Mason University was majority young and white, his speech was being live-streamed on hundreds of college campuses nationwide, so Sanders aimed at a different audience: young African-Americans.

As has become the norm on the Sanders campaign trail, the crowd treated the candidate like a rock star upon his booming entrance to "Rockin' in the Free World." He received multiple standing ovations for lines such as, "We should be proud that the American people are voting for candidates based on ideas, not the color of their skin," and "Our goal must be to end all forms of institutional racism and enact reform in our criminal justice system." Throughout his 45-minute speech, there wasn't a moment when the room was quiet.

"I'm not going to vote in the election if it's not him," Maddie Brothers, a recent college graduate and a self-described "unapologetic liberal," said while waiting in the rain for Sanders' event. "The enthusiasm and straightforwardness draws me to him … I thought about it and realized, man, these other candidates are just as bad as the other side, they are just happening to have liberal values. It's all just some political scheme, nothing about it seems genuine."

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