Bernie Sanders drawing large crowds


The self-described democratic socialist running for the Democratic nomination for president is surprising political observers with the crowds that are turning up for his rallies. Yesterday saw 10,000 people packing a stadium in Madison, Wisconsin to cheer his basic message of challenging the oligarchic control of the US by “raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, bridging the gap between rich and poor, criminal justice reform and raising taxes on the wealthy and Wall Street.”

Sanders Madison

Sanders has built his underdog campaign to succeed President Barack Obama on blunt talk about the economy. In addition to advocating a $15-an-hour minimum wage and raising taxes on the rich, he also supports a massive government-led jobs program to fix roads and bridges, a single-payer health care system, an expansion of social security benefits and debt-free college.

“The big money interests – Wall Street, corporate America, all of these guys – have so much power that no president can defeat them unless there is an organized grassroots movement making them an offer they can’t refuse,” Sanders said.

The message resonated with the welcoming crowd, many of whom had gathered at the state Capitol four years ago to protest against Walker and his move against unions.

It is true that Madison is a liberal enclave in a state that although once very progressive has been dominated by Republics since 2010 and so some might dismiss this as an anomaly. But Sanders also drew crowds of more than 5,000 earlier in Denver.

Sanders’s attacks on the billionaire class is being enthusiastically received, suggesting that people are well aware that the system is rigged against them and that we need to fight back. As a result, he has risen sharply in the polls in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire although Hillary Clinton still has a comfortable lead. In New Hampshire, he has steadily cut into her lead, from 52 points in February to 21 points less than two months ago, to a close 43%-35% margin last week.

The first signs of possible unease in the Clinton camp about the Sanders surge has been a Clinton surrogate taking an oblique swipe at him, suggesting that the large crowds are signs that Sanders is an ‘extremist’. As we all should know by now, an extremist in US politics is anyone who strays outside the strictly policed, narrow spectrum ranging from right wing to even-more-right wing views.

In his speech, Sanders took aim at Republican policies in general and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker in particular and used them to state what extremism really means.

“Let me just say a few words to my friends in the Republican Party about extremism. When you deny the right of workers to come together in collective bargaining that’s extremism. When you tell a woman that she can not control her own body, that’s extremism. When you think a woman is a child and can’t purchase a contraceptive, that is extremism. When you give tax breaks to billionaires and refuse to raise the minimum wage, that’s extremism.”

That is absolutely correct.

(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.)

Comments

  1. anat says

    One problem I saw raised was that he hasn’t specifically raised racial issues. Obviously many of his policies regarding social and economic issues would improve lives of black people, but he hasn’t (at least up to the moment the claim was made) said anything about dismantling institutional racism.

  2. atheistblog says

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” – Gandhi.
    Still, on the FTB, only Singham is talking and supporting Bernie. No one else, None, Nada. But there people who already Hillary Rotten Clinton as nominee.
    Progressive Liberalism is too much for almost all of the pseudo liberals here on the FTB.
    #FeelTheBern PZ Meyers ?

  3. says

    It’s been pointed out to you that PZs said about as much on Sanders as he has on Clinton since Sanders announced his decision to run.

    PZ rarely blogs about candidates directly, or about general politics in the way Mano does. If PZ posted on the same topics as Mano, your criticism of him would be warranted.

  4. atheistblog says

    Another BS to just to rationalize your demi god PZ. You don’t talk about Sanders by starting with Hillary is inevitable, I am gonna vote for Hillary. That’s what billionaire class media pundits talk, those who have conviction never start with such BS. No one is asking you to predict the future like a prophet, oh, but that’s what a self proclaimed atheist doing predicting hillary nomination.
    This is not a month before Nov 2016. Fight for what you believe in, or just go and prostrate your establishment god and liars, and be a serf.
    Oh, it’s not pointed out for you, right ? Well, now it done, so don’t make me to point this out to you again.
    Hillary or Bush, were Romeny not Obama, but now obama, all same BS. Blatant liars lies to get elected, and all same underneath, only difference is rhetoric.
    PZ is a hypocrite hillary worshiper, lies like his mother of lies, hillary.

  5. Holms says

    You seem to have an irrational dislike of Myers. It’s quite clear to me that you weren’t aware of his public support of Bernie at all until it was pointed out to you, and now you’re just venting and ignoring what he said:

    “When the Minnesota caucuses roll around, I’ll be there to vote for Sanders. But this next election is also too important to screw up — we have to get rid of the Republican poison — so at the election itself, if Clinton is the official nominee, I’ll vote for her.”

    Notice that he is voting for Sanders in the primaries, indicating that he wants him to be the Democrat candidate, but will bite the bullet and vote for Clinton in the general if it comes to it. But then, I suspect you already knew he said that and chose to use his pessimism as a means of attack him instead of having the integrity to admit error.

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