When the Democratic senator from Vermont announced that he was running for President of the United States, he never thought he would draw the largest crowds of any of the candidates. Much to his surprise, however, Bernie has become the most popular candidate in the race by far. The phenomenon has even been given a name– “Bernie-mentum,” a phrase coined by NPR, but is catching on almost as much as the candidate himself.
Bernie’s speeches in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Minnesota have all consistently been packed. Seats would run out and people would have to stand in the back, or outside the building, looking in through windows. At one small event in the tiny town of Kensett, Iowa, the crowd that amassed to hear Sanders’ speech was larger than the population of the town itself.
Bernie is keeping his focus on economic reform, specifically closing the ever-widening divide between the rich and the poor. At a picnic outside Des Moines, Iowa, Bernie said in a speech: “The truth is there has been a massive redistribution of wealth in this country from the working families of America to the top 1/10 of one percent. And together you and I have got to turn that around.” In an America still reeling from economic hardship, this is apparently exactly what many want to hear.
What does Bernie think about his popularity, though? “If you were to ask me a couple of months ago whether we would have larger crowds than any other candidate out there, I would not have told you that that would be the case.”