Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders has had an incredible rise in popularity since he announced that he would be challenging Hillary Clinton in the party’s primary race. Clinton was once thought to be the shoo-in Democratic pick, but Sanders has been quickly closing in on the former Secretary of State in the polls. His pro-middle class policies, stalwart denouncement of corporate power, and vigorous condemnations on the influence of the one percent have catapulted the once little-known Independent Senator from Vermont into the national spotlight. Now, he is once again surprising people by getting his name on the Texas ballots – not by paying money, but by collecting the support of the people through petitions.
People’s World reports on just how powerful Bernie’s grassroots support is:
Texas law says that major party candidates can get on the primary election ballot with signatures or with money. The Sanders campaign will save several thousand dollars when their petitions are accepted. More importantly, they have a data-base of supporters far in excess of any other candidate. In fact, their levels of individual donations and volunteer activism even exceed those of the vigorous Obama campaign in 2007, according to the state organizer.
Senator Sanders has drawn the largest crowds of supporters thus far in the race for the White House and his popularity doesn’t seem to be leveling off. Young voters are especially enthusiastic about his campaign and show up in droves to hear him speak. One of the things that has made Sanders so popular is that he is the only candidate in the race who is not accepting money from super PACs, because he believes that money in politics is destroying our democracy. By collecting signatures to get himself on the ballot, he is proving that candidates do not need to spend millions of dollars to run a successful campaign. Furthermore, he will not be in debt to the big corporate donors whom he loathes so much. His campaign has been a breath of fresh air to the American people who are sick and tired of their voices being drowned out by the monied elite and his success in Texas is proving as much.
Colin Taylor is the 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.