Bernie Sanders 2016

First the good:

Senator Bernie Sanders held a rally at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin, on Wednesday, and you would have thought he was Beyoncé or One Direction by the size of the crowd and the utterly overwhelmed and excited faces in it. …sanders2

The Sanders campaign also released its fund-raising numbers today, a day after Clinton’s campaign announced it had raised about $45 million since April. He has raised about $15 million since beginning his campaign. The average donation was $33.51, according to the Washington Post, and he received money from about 250,000 supporters.

During the hour-long speech in Madison, Sanders discussed paid leave, free tuition at state universities, getting rid of Citizens United, single-payer health care, civil rights, and Scott Walker, the governor of the state he was speaking in (and a potential presidential candidate). “I know that Governor Walker may disagree but, to my mind,” Sanders said, “the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage which must be raised.” (nymag)

Guardian:

Sanders, a 73-year-old self-described democratic socialist, is trying to appeal to the most liberal Democrats with his message of 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

Criticisms:

Sanders has seen his numbers rise in New Hampshire, but so far he lags well behind Clinton in Iowa. Just 2% of Democrats said he’s the best positioned to win against a Republican in 2016, according to a new CNN poll. And his diehard support may be confined to liberal enclaves like Madison.

But by attracting massive crowds, Sanders can build a movement around him and present the impression of momentum as he campaigns for wins in Iowa, New Hampshire, and beyond.

The giant rallies also offer a fundraising opportunity for Sanders, whose staffers collected names of attendees as they entered the arena. His campaign says he’s attracted 200,000 donors so far, most of them small, and will need a to keep firing up a national donor base to fuel his campaign.

“I’ve been frustrated for the last several years and he’s like a lone wolf out there for people with no voice,” said Todd Osborne of Madison.

Erika Hanson said too many Democrats, including Clinton, too often to do the bidding of corporations. “As far as I’m concerned he’s the only person who cares about the middle class,” she said.

Supporters here are hopeful he can beat Clinton, but most said they would vote for Clinton if she were the Democratic Party’s nominee next year.

The sea of faces skewed heavily white. Sanders, who hails from a state with a population that is 95% white, has acknowledged that most Democrats of color are unfamiliar with his message and vowed to address it.

More criticism:

[T]he foundational flaws in Sanders’ candidacy are pretty easy to spot. Sanders may be polling well in mostly white New Hampshire, but he hasn’t been able to figure out how to earn more than 5 percent of the nonwhite vote, according to national polls. Nonwhite voters make up more than a third of Democratic primary voters nationally.

Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine why someone who has described himself as a socialist, has never competed for minority voters and has no roots within the Democratic Party should worry Clinton much. She might actually be relieved to be challenged by someone who has so little chance at winning the nomination. Let’s imagine a case where Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire. In that world, you’d likely see the Democratic establishment rush in to try to squash Sanders, much as Republicans did to Newt Gingrich in 2012 after he won South Carolina. (fivethirtyeight)

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