Bernie Sanders has accomplished a lot in the first few months of his campaign. At first, he was considered a long-shot, someone incapable of challenging Hillary Clinton. While Sanders remains behind the former Secretary of State in national polls, Clinton’s lead has steadily shortened over time as the Vermont Senator’s popularity has risen. According to polling data, what Sanders lacks in support versus Clinton, he makes up for in his ability to stand up to Republicans. Against Donald Trump, Sanders outperforms Clinton by a full percentage point. against Ben Carson, Trump’s perhaps more stupid opponent for the GOP nomination, Clinton holds a clear advantage of three percentage points. In any case, they remain within the margin of error of each other against either Republican hopeful.
What’s remarkable about the Sanders campaign is that people love giving money to it — not billionaires, lobbyists, or the like; just regular people. In an interview with NPR, Sanders announced that his campaign had accomplished something amazing: The 2016 Democratic hopeful has accumulated more individual donations than any candidate in history.
“When we began this campaign six months ago, I’d say that 80 percent of the American people did not know who Bernie Sanders was, what I stood for. First polls that I saw had us at three percent or five percent,” Sanders said. “We have come a very, very long way. We have hundreds of thousands of volunteers in fifty states in this country. We have received more individual contributions, 750,000, than any candidate in American history at this point in the campaign.”
Sanders also addressed his lack of support in the African-American community, and how he intends to fix it. “If the elections were held today, just among the African-American vote, we would lose. But I think we have a real path to winning the support of the African-American community for two reasons,” Sanders said. “Number one, I’m just not well known in the African-American community…Number two, the African-American community and the Latino community are struggling in a nation in which our middle class is struggling…the issues that we are focusing on, rebuilding the economy and in the process creating UP TO 13 million decent paying jobs, many of those jobs will be for minority communities. Making public colleges and universities tuition free will benefit everyone in America, but even more so, the African-American community.”
“We have to a lot better job in discussing my record which in the United States Congress is the strongest records of any member in terms of civil rights,” Sanders said.
Win or lose, Sanders is shaping up to be a historic candidate, one who will emerge from this election a force to be reckoned with — whether or not he is our next President.
Listen to the interview, below:
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.