We all know and remember the comedic stylings, movies, and namesake show of Bernie Mack; we all watched in disgust as Bernie Madoff literally made off with the fortunes of investors—committing what is referred to as the $65 Billion dollar crime. Bernie Williams is known for his career on the baseball field as well as his music. Now, our attention is focused on the Bernie that has captivated the American political primary of 2016 —Bernie Sanders.
Who doesn’t love a good underdog, against all odds, ‘snowball’s chance in hell’ story? Bernie Sanders, started running behind Hillary at a distance that had us calculating time zones. However, since announcing his campaign last May, that sweet, damp, little colt, that wandered around aimlessly in circles on the farm, has entered the race like a top thoroughbred waiting in the center gate at a Kentucky racetrack. Just like the majestic creatures that run around the track, Bernie’s stride has steadily pushed him out front. He is now positioned to win the wreath of roses and the trophy. With many people talking about how ‘unelectable’ he is, the question is: How?
I would argue part of the reason is his relatability. I am a Hillary Clinton fan, I’ll admit it. I love a lot of things her campaign represents. The things that the woman has done over her career have been notable. Yet there are the disasters like Benghazi, “email gate,” and her back pedaling on other issues. Many also raised an eyebrow when Hillz skedaddled after the first term to basically start working on her own campaign for 2016. And, let’s be honest, if you’re looking for warm fuzzies from Hill, don’t. The icy glare and ‘talk through teeth tone’ she has been known to give reporters and politicians, alike is no joke.
Feisty Mr. Sanders lived in Hillie’s shadows initially; however, over the past several months, he has quickly turned the Democratic primary into a two-person race. America has come to know and love him. He is a doting, grandfather type little kids would like to have an ice cream cone with. He is the older, seasoned, uncle type that isn’t much to look at really, but there is genuineness about him. He is quirky and warm; he’s a little odd looking, but familiar. He is older, but still appeals to those a third of his age.
Bernie has sprinted ahead because he has been consistent, and not just these last few weeks. Bernie Sanders has been making the same points for years. It is this consistency that is causing people who supported HRC initially, to ‘Feel the Bern’. A lawmaker in South Carolina, that I went to college with, recently and publicly aligned himself with Sanders after pledging support to the former first lady Clinton, and it seems that others are also doing the same.
The issues Bernie has built his campaign around are resonating with people. Sanders has been a proponent for lower college tuition, higher graduation rates, building the middle class, and raising the minimum wage for quite some time.
The way Bernie is raising the money is extraordinary. Sanders is basically funding his campaign through small donation from his supporters, and he is doing it without a finance team, which is unheard of. It was reported that he has taken a considerable amount from a Nurses Union PAC as well, which is a far cry from a large drug manufacturer, the NRA, Big Tobacco, Technology Giants, or the other usual special interest groups. In the last quarter, he raised more money through small donations than President Barack Obama did his first lap around the political track in 2007.
What’s more is that the naysayers give Bernie just as much fuel as his supporters. He continues to turn negatives into positives. Last fall, the Senator from Vermont ran into some problems when campaigning out in Oregon. Some of his rallies were interrupted by Black Lives Matter activists, who felt they were being ignored by his campaign. After the melee, a handful of activists agreed to meet with Bernie to demand a stronger stance and more attention for the Black Lives Matter movement. Bernie listened, and even promoted one of his top campaign organizers, Symone Sanders (practically overnight) to be the new campaign spokesperson. It now seems that Bernie Sanders has regained even more popularity with minority voters.
We haven’t been reminded of sex scandals, and we haven’t seen him speaking negatively about others. The optimism and matter-of-factness of his campaign have attracted national attention, and Bernie Sanders has quickly become the everyone’s favorite underdog. Young people, minorities, and yes—even women—are paying attention to see if he can finish strong. As it stands right now, Bernie’s numbers are creeping up and he even won the New Hampshire primary this week. The momentum of victory in New Hampshire has made the path to the coveted first place ribbon of the Democratic party nomination that much easier.
Bernie still has his work cut out for him. Going up against the Democratic blue blood establishment is more than just half hearted horseplay. HRC still seems to still be the favorite, but by a much slimmer margin. The progress that he has made cannot be ignored.
Do I think he will win the nomination? I don’t know. Do I think he can go on to win the election? I don’t know. Do I think that he has already proved he has the guts to make it to the finish line? Absolutely.
Image Credits: Gage Skidmore