The news media have been expressing surprise at the fact that large and enthusiastic crowds are turning up at Bernie Sanders rallies.
When Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took the stage at Drake University in Des Moines Friday night, he got a standing ovation. The auditorium holds 700 people and it was packed, including the balcony.
The Democratic presidential candidate is doing something on the campaign trail even he didn’t expect — drawing large crowds in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond.
In Keene, N.H. a thousand people showed up to see Sanders speak. They couldn’t all fit in the room. Same thing happened in Minnesota — except the crowd was estimated at 5,000.
Sanders has an event scheduled Saturday in Denver, and already more than 3,000 people have registered to attend.
In the early primary state of New Hampshire, the increased crowds are reflected by a surge in the polls as well, though Hillary Clinton still has a comfortable lead.
Among Democratic voters who say they will participate in the state’s primary next year, 44 percent back Clinton. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist from neighboring Vermont, grabs 32 percent. Vice President Joe Biden, who has shown little inclination to run, claims 8 percent of likely Democratic voters.
One thing that concerned me when I saw photos of his early rallies, was the absence of many young people or people of color. More recent photos show more young people.
It is interesting that Sanders has been focusing almost exclusively on economic issues. I think he judges, rightly, that people who vote purely on social issues are locked up with either of the two parties which have become pretty polarized in their views on them.
(You can go to Sanders’s website to join the campaign and contribute and here to see where he stands on the issues. Despite the media trying to paint him as some kind of extremist candidate, a majority of Americans actually support him on most of the issues he stands for.)