Iowa: Chance for Sanders to turn revolution into reality

2016-01-20 20:29
Bernie Sanders (AP)

Bernie Sanders (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sioux City With less than two weeks until voting begins, the 74-year-old self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders could win both Iowa and New Hampshire, a once unthinkable outcome in a primary campaign that was supposed to be tailor-made for Hillary Clinton.

"Today the inevitable candidate doesn't look quite so inevitable," Sanders told voters on Tuesday.

The Vermont senator's down-to-business demeanour on the campaign trail has been met with youthful enthusiasm during his unexpected rise in the Democratic race for president.

While Sanders first drew attention for the overflow crowds he drew around the country last summer, he's making more intimate appeals to voters in the final few days before the Iowa's February 1 caucuses.

As voters filed into events where Sanders made his pitch for increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and breaking up big Wall Street banks, a campaign soundtrack played a heavy rotation of songs touting revolution. Sanders has called for a "political revolution" in America.

Young people with nose rings and green and purple tinted hair filled the seats directly behind the candidate, though the rest of the audience was older.

Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats on Capitol Hill, began his campaign with firm rules about what he was not willing to do to win the presidency. He's among the most vigorous critics of super political action committees, groups that can accept donations of any size, and frequently touts his campaign's reliance on small donations.

He also vowed to avoid negative, personal attacks on his rivals. But with the prospect of victory in the early states at hand, Sanders is testing the limits of that pledge.

In addition to his comments on Clinton's evaporating inevitability, he points out the big-money speaking fees Clinton received from Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street giant that's a frequent villain in Sanders' speeches.

While Sanders may be striking a chord with voters seeking an outsider candidate, he's also a practised politician.

Taking a page out of Republican front-runner Donald Trump's playbook, Sanders has recently started opening his remarks with lengthy references to his improving poll numbers. He's particularly focused on surveys showing he's more likely to beat Trump in the general election than Clinton, showing his irritation with suggestions from within his own party that's he's unelectable.

Sanders also knows he lacks foreign policy experience, particularly next to Clinton's four years as secretary of state. So he reminds voters of Clinton's vote in favour of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Even if Sanders can turn his momentum into victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, there are daunting challenges ahead. He's less well known among minority populations, which some Democrats see as a vulnerability for him as the race heads to states with more racially diverse populations.

Sanders is making an effort in South Carolina in particular to reach out to black voters, hoping they'll see the rumpled, ageing socialist as their advocate.

"This is it. Here I am," Sanders said as he closed an event in Iowa. "For better or worse."

Read more on:    bernie sanders  |  donald trump  |  hillary clinton  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.