Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Is the Grassroots Movement Sweeping the Nation

*Originally published on RYOT.org on August 11th, 2015 by Sean Sawyer*

While the crowded Republican party has been grabbing headlines with large personalities and their early debate, Bernie Sanders has been flying under the radar.

On Monday, Sanders traveled to Los Angeles and held a rally with over 27,000 supporters. This crowd represents how big Sanders’ popularity has been growing in the past few months during his campaigning. In the latest Iowa Caucus poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, Clinton still leads Sanders 52% to 25%, respectively. But, don’t let that statistic fool you: In the latest New Hampshire poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, Sanders is a mere 6 points behind Clinton.

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Clinton, left, and Sanders, right, have pulled ahead in the polls and are now essentially running a two-man race. (Photo left: AP. Photo right: Charlie Riedel/AP)

“Bernie Sanders’ growing support has a lot more to do with Bernie Sanders than it does with Hillary Clinton,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Clinton’s as popular as ever but Sanders is proving to have a lot of appeal as he becomes better known.”

When RYOT first profiled Bernie Sanders, we noted that he set a record on July 1st at a political rally in Wisconsin where he packed the house with 10 thousand supporters. “Tonight we have made a little bit of history. Tonight, we have more people at any meeting for a candidate of President of the United States than any other candidate,” Sanders said on that day.

As it turns out, the event in Los Angeles wasn’t a one hit wonder. The day before on Sunday, Sanders’ rally in Portland, Oregon brought in over 28,000 supporters. And on Saturday in Seattle, 15,000 people came to see Sanders. The sheer numbers of how many people come out to support Sanders is a testament to the type of campaign Sanders wants to achieve. He seeks to be a politician for the people as demonstrated by his strict anti-PAC campaign financing.

“Bernie Sanders’ growing support has a lot more to do with Bernie Sanders than it does with Hillary Clinton,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Clinton’s as popular as ever but Sanders is proving to have a lot of appeal as he becomes better known.”

 

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The crowd of over 28,000 supporting Bernie Sanders in Portland, Oregon. (Source: Bernie Sanders Facebook)

However, not all people are satisfied with Sanders and his movement. At the event on Saturday in Seattle, Sanders’ rally was interrupted by two women promoting Black Lives Matter. You can view their takeover of Sanders’ rally in this Associated Press video.

When the chaos simmered down, Sanders responded to his name being chanted by meeting and greeting with his supporters.

The main issue that the Black Lives Matter campaign has with Sanders is that white progressive liberals, like him, are keeping economic issues at the center of their progressive ideas rather than racial equality and social rights issues. Sanders sees racial problems as a symptom of economic inequality, highlighting the main issue between white progressives and minority progressives. But Sanders has always been a supporter of racial equality including participating in civil right activism in the 60’s.

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2016 Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders at a sit-in against segregation in the 60s. (Source: Tumblr)

In other Sanders news, he recently proposed a bill to make Election Day a national holiday called “Democracy Day.” Sanders said in a statement, “We should be doing everything possible to make it easier for people to participate in the political process. Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote. While this would not be a cure-all, it would indicate a national commitment to create a vibrant democracy.”

As Sanders continues to campaign and the race draws on, he should be making great strides towards winning the Democratic Presidential bid, which has turned into a two-person race. If he does win, this would certainly be an underdog story for the ages.

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