COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- A few hours before the Democratic debate Tuesday, the Bernie Sanders campaign sent out word that it had organized 4,000 watch parties across the country. It was hard to confirm that number, but Team Sanders did link to a map of the U.S. with a dot marking every party, and there were certainly a lot of dots.
One of those dots was at the University of Maryland. And the watch party wasn't a dozen people gathered at someone's house or a small room in a brew pub. Instead, the pro-Sanders group Terps for Bernie reserved a 500-seat auditorium at the Stamp Student Union and managed to fill about 300. As he has across the country, Bernie got a big turnout.
Yes, the Terps for Bernie love Bernie. But just as important in this race, many just don't like Hillary. What young and idealistic college student would? Sanders inspires their passion about inequality, about climate change, money in politics, gay rights. Clinton doesn't.
"She's the epitome of the establishment and the corrupt politicians, and there are so many things to dislike about her," said J.T. Stanley, a senior who is one of the co-founders of Terps for Bernie. "My number-one issue is money in politics, because we can't do anything about global warming until we get the money out of the system. That's my single issue, and that's why I despise Hillary. She's the devil."