Politics

Bernie Sanders Becoming Legitimate Threat To Hillary Clinton Campaign

| by Kathryn Schroeder

Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is gaining ground on Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary race.

In a new poll from Quinnipiac University, Clinton garners 52 percent of likely Democratic supporters in Iowa, with Sanders getting 33 percent of their votes. The 19-point margin between the two may appear substantial, but compared to a May poll where Clinton received 60 percent and Sanders only 15 percent it is clear he is gaining on the presumed frontrunner, reports The New York Times.

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“Secretary Hillary Clinton should not be biting her fingernails over her situation in the Iowa caucus, but her lead is slipping and Senator Bernie Sanders is making progress against her,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac’s poll.

The poll represents the first time Clinton has fallen below 60 percent in Iowa, portraying Sanders emergence as a credible prospect to take the Democratic nomination.

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Sanders is also showing momentum with campaign fundraising. On July 2, his campaign announced it had raised $15 million since April 30 from 250,000 donors, the majority of whom gave small contributions online, reports The Guardian.

President Barack Obama had only 180,000 donors during the first quarter of his presidential campaign in 2007, a number which has since set the benchmark for online fundraising by a subversive candidate.

In terms of rallying support, Sanders showed he is capable on July 1 when nearly 10,000 people in Wisconsin came out to hear him speak. The largest crowd Clinton has drawn was 5,500 for her campaign launch.

“Tonight we have made a little bit of history,” Sanders told the crowd in Wisconsin. “Tonight we have more people at any meeting for a candidate of president of the United States than any other candidate.”

Sanders must contend with the amount of money the Clinton campaign is working with. On July 1, her campaign announced it had raised $45 million since she declared her candidacy in April.

“Many people doubted whether we could build an organization powered by so many grass-roots supporters,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said. “Today’s announcement proves them wrong.”

Where the donations for Clinton’s campaign have come from has yet to be released. The information is due to be filed with the Federal Exchange Commission on July 15 by all presidential candidates.

Clinton also has the Priorities USA Super PAC supporting her candidacy. It announced on July 2 that it has raised $15.6 million.

Sanders, who is against the “grotesque and obscene” concentration of wealth in America, has refused to work with a super PAC and is instead focusing on procuring small-dollar donors. His decision to do so is seen by Harvard University professor Lawrence Lessig as “bringing a knife to a gunfight.”

“I regret the fact the Bernie Sanders has embraced the idea that he’s going to live life like the Vermont snow, as pure as he possibly can, while he runs for president, because it weakens his chances — and he’s an enormously important progressive voice,” Lessig said.

Sanders stands behind his belief that the people are what count, not the money.

“They may have the money but we have the people,” Sanders said to the crowd on July 1. “And when the people stand together, we can win.”

Sources: The Guardian, The New York Times

Photo Source: iprimages/Flickr