Bernie Sanders continue to pack the house wherever he campaigns as the Democratic presidential candidate recently drew the same size audience that Hillary Clinton did when both candidates were campaigning on the same evening in Iowa.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
More than 3,000 came to a Sanders speech in Minneapolis in May; 700 attended his speech at Drake University here Friday night, about the same number who went to a Hillary Clinton event on Sunday that featured a buffet table and a live band. More than 3,000 people have RSVP’d for a Sanders rally in Denver on Saturday, the campaign says.
This Bernie boomlet is forcing the campaign to improvise. Aides have set up loudspeakers for people left outside Sanders events, and scrambled to find larger venues to accommodate unexpected crowds who relish his attacks on what he calls the “cocky billionaire class.”
Since former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton just began holding rallies and events a few days ago, it is difficult to do apples to apples comparisons, but it is fair to say that both candidates drew large crowds to their early events. The Clinton campaign strategy has been to focus on smaller events and more direct voter contact, but the message to the media and the Republican Party is clear. Democratic enthusiasm is high for this campaign. Republicans can’t match the grassroots enthusiasm on the Democratic side.
Bernie Sanders has been popular for years. He doesn’t fit into to the media box of Democrat vs. Republican, so the larger press outlets mostly ignored him. The groundswell of popularity that is finally being noticed has always been there for the Senator from Vermont. A 2011 poll found that Sanders was the 3rd most popular senator in the country.
The emphasis on grassroots campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire helps Bernie Sanders. His campaign is a grassroots effort. Sen. Sanders isn’t going to win an ad war with the Clinton campaign, and if the early primaries were in states where big television ad buys can make a difference, it would be harder for Bernie Sanders to compete.
Bernie Sanders is running a very successful campaign. His constant pressure on Clinton was influential in moving her to the left on Obama’s trade agenda. Bernie Sanders is shaping the 2016 Democratic platform and influencing policy. Sanders has given the liberal segment of the Democratic Party a voice in the discussion. The crowds he is drawing represent the collective demand of millions for their voices to be heard.
Bernie Sanders is building a movement for 2016 and beyond, and that movement is gaining more steam by the day.