Photo by Tony Pierce

Meet the Bernie — and Trump — Supporters Hanging Out in Venice

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Asking the colorful denizens of Venice who they will be voting for in the upcoming election brought some surprising answers.

There may not be a more beautiful mix of people in L.A. than those you’ll find on a warm day in the middle of the week on the Venice boardwalk.

We asked whoever would talk with us who they were thinking about voting for on Super Tuesday.

Some of the people we chatted with work on Venice Beach, some just hang out there. But many regular Venice beachgoers had seen Bernie Sanders speak nearby in December and seemed to still be buzzing from that experience.

Could he beat the pack, including his fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren who keeps performing well in the debates? And if he does, how will he do against the incumbent?

Like most excursions on Venice Beach, we were often surprised by what we saw and heard.

Pat Raphael, native Angeleno

I don’t paint myself with the energy process that is American politics. I am an American and I am a registered voter because wherever I go, I make it a point to register but I would not touch that cesspool with a 10-foot pole.

Who do you like in the presidential race?

I designed this piece. So just by looking at this piece, you can kind of see my leanings. 

Because Bernie is first, I should assume that you want Bernie? Bernie Burns? What’s he burning weed or something?

He’s burning cash. That’s the hit about Bernie, “he’s gonna burn through the cash.” But that’s always the hit when you’re spending money on people. If you are spending it on empire or one-percent-ism, spend on, right?

So for me, for my choice, I would love to see Bernie Sanders get power because of what he’s saying. Because he’s saying things that will help people. I don’t think he will be able to do those things but I think Amy Klobuchar can get power with a governing coalition. And if she does, she can get a whole bunch of senators with her because of who she is and where she comes from.

I see this so clearly because I hit a blunt and I thought about it. And I wonder why everybody else can’t see it.

Terrance asked us not to take a photograph, so here’s what the scene looked like from above. Photo by Tony Pierce.

Terrance, originally from New York

I would vote for Trump because I’m not a communist or a socialist. Bernie Sanders admits to being a communist, Elizabeth Warren says she’s a socialist. You have Bloomberg who’s a Republican.

You wouldn’t vote for Bloomberg?

Hell no. I lived in New York.

How long have you been in L.A.?

I’ve been here 10 years, my family has been here a prolonged time.

How do you like it?

That’s a trick question. I’m a New Yorker. I’m wearing a Yankee hat for God’s sake. The girls are pretty. The weed’s legal. You need some? I got some. I love it that you can sit here and smoke and do stuff like this, but you don’t get the realness of New York and the reality of life. And there’s no food here. There’s food but it’s scattered far. Why is there not food here? Chinese food, pizza —real pizza, delis, sushi …

OK, the Washington Post has listed 16,000 lies that Trump has told

The Washington Post are the people who were funding the impeachment of Trump so I don’t believe a word that they say.

Well, he said he would build a wall and Mexico would pay for it.

There is a wall being built and Mexico is paying for it through the tariffs and in renegotiating NAFTA and all that. So, indirectly but directly.

So when people say that Trump is a liar and have a long list of what they say are lies

Those people have no concept of what reality is. He ran some of the largest businesses in New York successfully. He got cement delivered on time when no one else in New York did.

Didn’t he also say he had a larger audience for his inaugural than Obama?

He did.

He did?

Yeah. Once again, you can’t go by what the Washington Post says.

But there’s pictures.

There are pictures of the whole place filled. And right now, he gives rallies where people wait two to three days outside to get in. No one does that for any of the Democrats.

Were you here when Bernie was in Venice?

That was nowhere close to what Trump pulls. If Trump spoke here it would be packed for 100 miles in every direction.

David, originally from Canada. He’s lived in Venice for the last 20 years.

Who am I voting for? It’s a no-brainer.

Between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the current front-runners, what should people be thinking about?

One thing only: Where does she get her money? Billionaires and big business. Everybody but the banks. She’s picking on the banks but she’s not picking on everybody else.

That’s typical of most politicians, wouldn’t you say?

All politicians except one or two. Bernie and Tulsi Gabbard.

Some people say Bernie might be too left, that he might freak out some in the middle who may play it safe with the Republican candidate.

They’re crazy. “The Republican candidate?” Congress is a rubber stamp for him. They’ll do whatever he says. Except for good old Mitt. He stood up. He’s the only one with guts.

Good old Mitt Romney voted for what Trump wanted most of the time.

Absolutely. And that was the first time that he made the turn-around.

Should supporters of Bernie be worried that if he becomes the Democratic candidate, some of the more extreme things he’s said in his past might come up?

I haven’t seen anything. If you show it to me, I will evaluate it. But I doubt it. For 40 years he’s been doing this. And I haven’t seen any dirt yet. So if they create some — it will have to have been created.

Bear, originally from Alabama but moved to L.A. 59 years ago.

Who are you voting for?

I am still waiting because I am an independent voter.

You say you’re independent but you have all this Bernie stuff and then this image of Trump looking goofy.

Let me explain. I have a friend who said, “Here Bear, here’s a Trump head that I want you to put in your display.” So I said OK, and I put it on the other side of the sidewalk. Thirty minutes later, my phone goes off and they’re talking about impeaching him. So I ran back over there, got Mr. Trump, put him in the skeleton.

My sign isn’t up, but I put up a sign that said, “I’m orange, how can I be in peached? I should be in-oranged.”

Then, there was this Bernie rally over there. It was huge. And that’s where the buttons and everything came from.

The Bernie people gave you buttons?

Yeah. I’ve liked Bernie since the beginning. I voted for Bernie over Hillary in the primary for 2016. But you had all the Clinton baggage that people were distracted by, and that’s how Trump snuck up from the back.

Trump needs to know we are not a company. You can fire employees but you cannot fire citizens.

So between the front-runners, Bernie and Warren, who do you like?

Right now, I am up in the air, but I know more about Bernie than I do about Elizabeth. But I am making a point of learning. When I go home tonight, I’m going to research a little bit.

Jaye was camera-shy but she said we could take a picture of the shop she sells t-shirts at. Photo by Tony Pierce.

Jaye, a native Angeleno from DTLA

Who do you think you’re going to vote for?

[Suspicious look where she peered over her sunglasses]

You don’t like that question?

Trump is the worst, but there’s nobody better than him right now.

Were you working here in December when Bernie spoke right over there?

Is he running again?


Oh, then OK — Bernie. I’m not really into politics like that.

Sean, visiting L.A. from Montana

This might be a silly question judging from your MAGA cap, but may I ask who you are voting for?


What do you love about the president?

The economy. Better military. What else you wanna know? I can go all night long.

Lay it on me.

Going back to our founding fathers. They didn’t want liberalism. They didn’t want socialism. They didn’t want dictators. They wanted a free country. The right to bear arms. The right to freedom of choice. The right to free speech.

When Obama was president, it seemed like there were a lot of people who were nervous that he was going to take away their guns, but he never attempted anything like that. Are you concerned that if another Democrat is elected, that the right to bear arms will be in jeopardy?

Yes. Absolutely. You got a party that wants to dictate and force subjection upon the people and that can’t be allowed. Not any time, not now, not ever.

With all the gun violence in the U.S., is there a happy medium in between?

Well, let me tell you something. Thomas Jefferson said, “Every generation ought to have a revolution.” If you allow socialism into this country — it’s time.

What type of socialism are you worried about?

All of it. None of it works.

Public schools is socialism, isn’t it? The group is chipping in so the kids can get educated.

It’s that way now because they dictate how education goes.

Stephon, native Angeleno

Who are you voting for? 

I typically do not vote because of the history of America and where it came from, the foundation that it was secretly built on. I’m very into the occult. The hidden things. Occult means hidden. I believe the creation of America is all masonic and pagan based on this Westernized slave/master mentality where it was all to control over economics. Seeing how it was then, and how it’s played out now, it hasn’t changed too much. It’s dressed up a bit differently but it’s the same thing.

It seems to me that the people who run the world don’t want the best for people.

If there is a bill I am interested in or a governor or senator that interests me — then I’ll vote. They know it’s fucked up. They can see it’s fucked up. They have to work around the fucked up system, but it never gets anywhere. So it’s kind of irrelevant to vote for someone for president because there’s only two parties and I believe it’s run by the same thing.

OK, so of the people running for president, who do you like?

With Bernie, the odds are stacked against him. The ruling class — the New World Order’s coming, we’re all gonna get micro-chipped. They’re gonna get rid of money. They have to get rid of half the population. Do you know about the Georgia Guidestones?


It’s like a clay tablet almost. It has like 10 quotations on it. And the first one is — it’s the only one I remembered because it just seemed odd — “Reduce the human population to under 500 million people so we can be in balance with nature.” That means a lot of people have gotta go.

Let me ask in another way, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, who do you choose?

I’m not too keen on Elizabeth. I’ll have to give it to Bernie because I liked how his demeanor was. And what I have seen from what I’ve seen on YouTube and stuff. I like how he carries himself. I assume they’re both good people trying to do the right thing. But the system we are in is very corrupt. It’s going to be hard to bounce back.

Jah Tempa, musician, originally from Jamaica

Who are you going to vote for? Who do you like?

To be honest, I think Mr. Trump is gonna win again.

OK, but who are you going to vote for?

If I vote, I will vote for Trump.


Yah, mon.

Why do you like Trump?

Because Trump is an actual full man. He speak the truth. He doesn’t sugarcoat it. You have a lot of people who sugarcoat stuff. But this president, since he’s been in there, he’s been honest. He don’t try to make things look pretty that aren’t pretty. He’s a realist. I think he’s the realest president America ever had.

You feel this way even though he’s been against immigration, particularly from countries of people of color?

Immigration has been opposed in America since before he was president.

Los Angeleno