Hillary Clinton's new rival.
I never heard the name Bernie Sanders before, but I watched him on television and realized that he really has drawing power. White-haired, emphatic, with telling hand gestures, he draws in the listener. And what he says makes good sense. He would abolish the corporate funding of elections. "I don't represent the interests of the billionaire class and the corrupt men on Wall Street," he said, "and I don't want their money." He would nationalize health care, break up the big banks, provide free college education for all, and convert outstanding student loans into soft loans at an annual cost of $70 billion dollars to be paid for by a special tax on Wall Street.
In some polls, Sanders is already topping Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. And so far as the Republicans are concerned, a survey last month put Sanders ahead of Donald Trump by five points. His current drawing power has, in turn, attracted more backers. Mr. Sanders raised over $25 million in three months this fall, most of it from small donations. The average contribution was around $25. By comparison, Hillary Clinton raised $28 million, which was less than she had gotten in the previous quarter. This amount puts Mr. Sanders in reach of the $50 million he will need to be competitive in Iowa and New Hampshire. The southern states, where he is only starting to build up an organization, present more of a challenge. Black Democrats in the south like Mrs. Clinton and are not familiar with Mr. Sanders. However, Sanders' advisers figure that his early success and the present anti-establishment mood of the voters will attract more interest in him. Black voters will like his background in the civil rights movement and his emphasis on economic issues will win him votes from white blue-collar voters.
Mr. Sanders' rule in popularity has been aided by a combination of economic uncertainty and political polarization that has discredited many mainstream political figures. And Hillary Clinton's slide in the polls has benefitted Mr. Sanders. The problem with the millennial who flock to Mr. Sanders rallies, is that less than half of them actually go out and vote. But Mr. Sanders does have the support of trade unionists. Over 70,000 union members have signed up to support his campaign.