Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been drawing incredibly large crowds on his campaign stops, and Sunday night he attracted his largest audience yet. An estimated 28,000 people in Portland, Oregon attended his rally at the Moda Center, the home of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.
Michael Lewellen, the vice president of corporate communications for the Moda Center, said that there were more the 19,000 people inside the arena and another 9,000 people outside. That crowd is the largest crowd at any event of the 2016 presidential contest. By contrast, Hillary Clinton’s largest crowd, 5,500, came at her formal kickoff rally in New York last June.
A look numbers in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows what’s going on. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken from July 26-30 shows Hillary Clinton is the first choice of with 59% of the poll respondents, while Bernie Sanders is second with 25%.
But Clinton’s numbers have dropped and Sander’s numbers have risen since the June NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. In that poll Clinton was the first choice of with 75% of the poll respondents, while Sanders is a distant second with 15%.
NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll…..7/15……….6/15
In two months Hillary Clinton’s numbers have dropped 16% while Sanders’ numbers have risen by 10% in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. The results are similar in other national polls. Why? It could be that the American people aren’t thrilled with the idea of Hillary Clinton as President.
Hillary Clinton has a lot of going for her. She’s been a U.S. Senator, she has been the Secretary of State, and she is the first woman to be a viable candidate for president. But she also has a lot of baggage, including her husband, Bill; an email scandal, and her personality, which rubs some people the wrong way.
On the other hand Americans seem to like what Bernie Sanders is saying. For example, the WMUR Granite State Poll, which was taken July 22-30 in New Hampshire, shows Clinton and Sanders in a statistical tie.
That poll shows Clinton with an almost 6 percentage point lead over Sanders. But the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.9%, so Clinton’s lead is almost within the poll’s margin of error. In the June WMUR Granite State Poll Clinton led Sanders 43% to 35%. That 8 percentage point lead has shrunk by 2 percentage points since June.
Bernie Sanders seems to be saying things that Americans want to hear. He talks about the billionaire class and how the richest Americans, the top one-tenth of 1 percent (0.001%) of the people in America, own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90% of Americans combined.
He talks about how the rich become even richer, and how the net worth the 14 richest people in the country increase by over $157 billion between 2013 and 2015. While at the same time, millions of Americans continued to see their incomes decline despite working longer hours to make ends meet.
Pundits say that Bernie Sanders cannot be elected President because he is in favor of socialized medicine. But what’s the difference between Bernie Sander’s call for America to provide health care for everyone, and John McCain’s call for the VA to make all veterans enrolled in the VA’s health care system eligible for private medical care paid for by the VA?
Isn’t it just a matter of scale? Sanders wants to ensure that everyone has access to health care. McCain wants to ensure that all veterans have access to private health care.
People listen when Sanders talks about how the United States is the only wealthy country in the world that doesn’t provide paid sick leave for someone undergoing a 50-day cancer treatment. They listen when he talks about how the U.S. is one of only 13 counties in the world that doesn’t guarantee workers a paid vacation.
While Republican presidential candidates, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, ignore science and deny that global warming is real, Bernie Sanders does the opposite. Sanders says, “The United States must lead the world in tackling climate change, if we are to make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren.”
He says that as Americans we have to transform our energy system. We have to move away from fossil fuels, and towards energy efficiency and sustainable wind and solar power generation. Most Americas realize that. But will it be enough to change their vote? Most national polls say no. But the crowds keep coming.
During his speeches, Sanders talks about reforming Wall Street. American taxpayers paid for the $700 billion bailout of largest financial institutions in the country, and for more than $16 trillion in zero interest loans from the Federal Reserve. But those same “too-big-to-fail” financial institutions made then $152 billion in profit in 2014.
Sanders also talks about getting big money out of politics. In May 2013, Sanders joined Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) to introduce a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the 2010 Citizens United case, which has undermined the right of the American people to limit the influence of big money in our elections.
If elected President, Sanders has promised that any Supreme Court nominee he makes will have to commit to overturning the Citizens United decision.
Bernie Sanders’ campaign for President is drawing such huge crowds because he is actually addressing the problems middle class and poor Americans face every day in their lives. He may not win the nomination, but he has certainly made the race for the Democratic nomination a lot more interesting.