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THE REAL DEAL: Vermont senator livens up 2016 presidential race Comment on this post ↓
June 2nd, 2015 by Warren Swil

Bernie Sanders is

gaining traction with

plain speaking, authenticity

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is gaining traction in the 2016 presidential sweepstakes.

Bernie Sanders is a breath of fresh air on the political landscape.
What sets the senator from Vermont apart from all the other contenders in the 2016 presidential sweepstakes can be summarized in one word: authenticity!
He believes what he says and says what he believes.
Dubbed “the king of social media” by The New York Times, the 73-year-old has become a star through his plain speaking and genuine empathy for the plight of those left behind by the modern economy.
He has garnered much positive coverage since his entry into the race just a month ago.
If he accomplishes nothing else, Sanders will catapult a mature discussion of really important issues into an otherwise irrelevant slugfest between America’s two dynastic family clans.

A visit to Sanders’ official web site reveals that his agenda reads like a wish list for progressive Americans who don’t buy the corporate claptrap of other presidential hopefuls. Clearly, his positions are not poll-tested before publication.
Today’s news that the campaign to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren – darling of the Democratic left – is folding in a few days cements Sanders as the candidate of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
His credentials are impeccable as he recently demonstrated when he introduced a bill that would make four-year public colleges tuition free for all.
“It’s time for a fundamental change in how we approach the financing of higher education,” Sanders tweeted in the announcement of his bill. “The College for All act will provide free tuition at every college and university in the country.”
College tuition not the only issue on which he has taken a populist stand.

The story in The New York Times in which Sanders is dubbed the “king of social media.” Click image to enlarge.

On the contentious trade deal known as the Trans Pacific Partnership, he is unequivocal. “The trade deal must be defeated,” Sanders said. “All the multinational corporations believe this is a great agreement, for good reasons. They’re going to make a whole lot of money out of that.”
A long-time champion of campaign finance reform – which many see as the most fundamental prerequisite before any other reform – Sanders opposed the war in Iraq (unlike his main Democratic opponent) long before it was popular to do so, and was one of only 66 members of the House of Representatives to vote against the Patriot Act rushed through in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.
And he has remained steadfast in his opposition to it throughout the recent debate to renew is provisions allowing spying on Americans.
Sanders campaign web site asks visitors: “Ready to start a revolution?” The senator from Vermont is already making waves.
He’s not even a celebrity, yet his Facebook page has garnered more than a million likes.
It got quite a bump after The New York Times story Seeking the Presidency, Bernie Sanders Becomes Facebook Royalty Through Quirky Sharing on May 19.
“[S]omehow, Bernie Sanders, the 73-year-old senator from Vermont, has emerged as a king of social media early in the 2016 presidential campaign, amid a field of tech-savvy contenders,” the Times reports.

The Washington Post story on Sanders’ sudden popularity. Click image to enlarge.

One of the reasons for his large and growing following is his authenticity. “The reason Bernie Sanders’s posts sound like him is that, for the most part, they are from Bernie Sanders. He often comes to his Senate office with quotations at the ready,” we discover.
Compare that to the well-laundered public statements from most other presidential candidates and one finds one of the core reasons for Sanders’ appeal.
He’s the real deal.
That’s why he is getting headlines like Bernie Sanders: So hot right now from The Washington Post on May 29, and Challenging Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Gains Momentum in Iowa from The New York Times on May 31.
One might not agree with Sanders on all or even most of his positions, but having a candidate for the top office in the country who is unafraid to stake out populist positions on a host of issues is a refreshing change.
If it forces Hillary Clinton to do the same, Sanders will have accomplished a great service for the voters. One cannot hope it will have an effect on the circular firing squad that is the race for the Republican nomination, but even the GOP candidates can be exposed for the hypocrites most of them are by honest debate on crucial issues.
Perhaps we can even hope that some of Sanders’ ideas get a wide enough audience to gain traction with mainstream Democrats. The momentum seems to be building.

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