There are some encouraging signs that Bernie Sanders’s campaign for the Democratic nomination is picking up support. He is drawing large crowds during his first visit to Iowa, surprising pundits and causing them to take notice.
A mere 240 people live in the rural northeast Iowa town of Kensett, so when more than 300 crowded into the community center on Saturday night to hear Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, many driving 50 miles, the cellphones of Democratic leaders statewide began to buzz.
The first evidence that Mrs. Clinton could face a credible challenge in the Iowa presidential caucuses appeared late last week in the form of overflow crowds at Mr. Sanders’s first swing through that state since declaring his candidacy for the Democratic nomination. He drew 700 people to an event on Thursday night in Davenport, for instance — the largest rally in the state for any single candidate this campaign season, and far more than the 50 people who attended a rally there on Saturday with former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland.
Last Sunday saw an overflow crowd of about 3,000 attend a Sanders rally in Minnesota.
The size of the crowds may be partly due to Democratic voters who are simply curious about him but have not yet committed to supporting him. But it is still a good sign and will likely lead to more free media which he needs since he does not have the support of the billionaire class. He has also risen sharply to 16% in the polls, though still far behind Hillary Clinto who is at 57%.
In a wide-ranging interview with Katie Couric, he spoke about what he sees as needs to be done. Of course some media figures like Chuck Todd, rather than providing voters with the information to judge the merits of a candidate (that is too much work), instead see their role as to tell us who is worth supporting. Todd is continuing the grand tradition of truly awful Meet the Press hosts, like his predecessors Tim Russert and David Gregory. Sanders will have his work cut out in trying to keep the discussions on the issues he cares about (the massive wealth and income gap and the oligarchic takeover of the country) and away from the things he does not, such as attacking other candidates.