Bernie Sanders surging

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.)


  1. says

    I am disgusted every time I feel a flicker of hope. I was thinking I should support Saunders because at least that will mean that Clinton will have to stake out a slightly more populist position than she otherwise would, but then I remember that it’d just be words and once she was elected it wouldn’t matter what she said on the campaign trail, just like every other fucking liar of a president, ever.

  2. Robert, not Bob says

    Doublereed, if Sanders wins the nomination, he’ll lose. The banks who fund the Democrats won’t give him a dime. As the system is now, money wins-spending would be 50 or 100 to 1. And I’m absolutely SICK of people telling me I’m “negative” or “defeatist” for pointing out something that’s EXACTLY TRUE (I get the same thing from other space enthusiasts when I point out that there can never, never be another Apollo Program).. A liberal president is only possible AFTER the constitutional amendment overturning “Citizens United”, not before. And a liberal Congress would probably take several election cycles.

  3. John Horstman says

    @Robert, not Bob #3: The fact that you think defeatism is an attitude dictated/necessitated by truth/reality doesn’t make you not a defeatist, it just means you think your defeatism is justified (“defeatist” is denotatively a value-neutral descriptor that identifies someone who has decided defeat is inevitable, often with the implication that a certain task/struggle is not worth effort that can be better used elsewhere; it only picks up a negative connotation thanks to our culture’s psychotically optimistic normative outlook). I’m certainly a defeatist/doomsayer concerning the future of industrialized human civilization; I think that outlook is entirely justified, and I will defend it (when I’m interested in discussing the topic at all).

    You may be entirely correct about Sanders’s chances; I think your outcome is a strong possibility, but not an inevitability. I also certainly believe in putting my efforts where I think they will have the most impact, but I refuse to intentionally avoid any particular avenue of potential change, so I will happily do things like simultaneously work to subvert the legal system and also make it less-bad through its own framework. I can take (sometimes illegal) direct action and also vote*. You’re free to do what you want, and other people will judge you for your actions based on how reasonable they think they are -- that’s just being part of a social group, which is necessary for human survival. If you’re sick of people judging your political opinions and actions, your only option is to avoid discussing them at all (else what you’re functionally doing is hypocritically demanding the right to wax political while denying others the same).

    *Since voting takes, like, 30 minutes maximum for me, even in busy presidential election years, it’s almost a zero effort and worth it for even a minimal possibility of barely-meaningful change. I still fight with myself every year, but I inevitably decide that if the Democrat is going to keep funding going for even a dozen more hungry kids and not be WORSE than the Republican in any other ways, it’s worth it since we’ll wind up with one of them. I’m not strongly convinced my conclusion is actually the ‘correct’ one, particularly in the long term, but since I’m not starving (or substitute any number of other acute vulnerabilities), I have a hard time justifying what I think might be a better long-game strategy at the expense of people who are.

  4. Robert, not Bob says

    @John, #4
    Your dictionary definition of “defeatism” isn’t what anybody means by it, so what use is it?

    And no, I’m not objecting to people criticizing my political opinions, what am I, a Republican? I’m objecting to stupidity verging on superstition (yes, superstition-lots of people seem to believe that negative thoughts have Real Power). And people getting on my case for being “negative” aren’t criticizing my opinions or statements, they’re telling me “shut up, you shouldn’t even think about those things”. I wish people would actually criticize my opinions…

  5. says

    @Robert, not Bob, #5 yes, superstition-lots of people seem to believe that negative thoughts have Real Power

    Uh…that’s probably because negative thoughts do have “Real Power.” They have power over the person who has the thoughts. Are you saying “The Little Engine That Could” is a bunch of superstition? You don’t think telling oneself that they can do something opposed to telling oneself that they can’t has no impact at all on their ability to do that thing???
    And you likewise don’t think someone telling another person that they can’t do something won’t have an impact? I would think it very hard to find any psychologist who would agree with you on this.

    (Adding, sure, if we’re talking about negative thoughts having impact on, say, the universe, then, sure, I can agree with you there. But that didn’t seem to be what we were talking about, so this would be a straw man. So don’t go there. Actually, I suspect that’s what your remark is — a giant straw man.)

  6. Chiroptera says

    Robert not Bob, #3: if Sanders wins the nomination, he’ll lose. The banks who fund the Democrats won’t give him a dime.

    Seems to me that if the “Banks” and other big money are really that powerful, then Sanders won’t even win the primary; that is where the big money is the most important.

    If Sanders does win the primary, then it seems to me that he has a really good shot at winning the general election.

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