Bernie's Bid: Sanders reboots his campaign

Bernie's Bid

October 25, 2019

Sanders got his campaign back on track last weekend with a return to New York City and a boost in the polls. This week the Vermont senator publicly defended Rep. Tulsi Gabbard against allegations she is a Russian puppet.

Sanders says he is in it to win it 

  • “To put it bluntly, I am back," Sanders told a crowd of over 25,000 in the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge.
  • Sanders struck a triumphant tone as he returned to the campaign trail after suffering a heart attack in early October.
  • Taking the stage to opening licks of ACDC’s "Back in Black", Sanders delivered an hour-long, high-energy speech, that hit on central tenets of his campaign, including health care and wealth inequality.
  • The Vermont senator was accompanied by a star-studded supporting cast of progressive figures and a new endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who has become a firebrand of the far left.  
  • In September, Sen. Elizabeth Warren held a rally in Washington Square Park with a crowd that exceeded 20,000.

Bernie says claims that Gabbard is a Russian agent are 'outrageous' 

  • Sanders defended fellow Democratic candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, of Hawaii, against accusations made by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the congresswoman is being “groomed” as a Russia-backed third-party option in the general election.
  • “People can disagree on issues, but it is outrageous for anyone to suggest that Tulsi is a foreign asset,” Sanders said in a statement.
  • Late last week, Clinton said Republicans would attempt to boost a third-party candidate to help Trump in key battleground states. She insinuated it would likely be Gabbard, who she accuses of being closely aligned with Russia. 
  • When a Clinton aide was asked if she was referring to Gabbard, he said: “If the nesting doll fits.” 
  • The Vermont senator is the only Democratic frontrunner to condemn Clinton’s comments.
  • Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson — all of whom are polling at or below 5% — have also stood up for Gabbard.

After a strong week, Sanders sees a slight uptick in the polls

  • Sanders, who has stagnated for weeks in national and statewide polls, saw his numbers increase slightly this week.
  • A national poll conducted by Emerson College put Sanders back into second place with 25%, yo-yoing with Warren, who moved back into third position with 21%. Biden still leads with 27% in that poll.
  • In a CNN poll, Sanders and Warren are neck and neck for second — Warren at 19% and Sanders just behind with 16%.
  • In an Iowa State University survey of the first in the nation caucus state, Warren has moved into first place (28%) with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg second (20%) and Sanders coming in third (18%). Biden meanwhile has slipped to 12% support which is good enough for fourth place.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders' in his run for the White House. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger

Other news

  • The Sanders campaign is targeting first time voters and people less likely to go to the polls: “It’s ambitious to expand the electorate, but that’s what Bernie has always done,” Jane Sanders told the Wall Street Journal.
  • The Vermont senator won the endorsement of Stacey Walker, the chair of the Linn County board of supervisors, in Iowa.
  • As president, Sanders says he will prosecute CEOs who have illegally monopolized a market under the Sherman Antitrust Act.
  • In early 2018, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was not sold on the Vermont independent launching a second bid for president and found herself more aligned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Omar explains why she is backing Sanders in 2020.
  • Since Sanders' Queens rally, some public housing advocates have complained the campaign did little to include residents of a neighboring housing project.
  • Sanders pledged this week to not prosecute whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, if he is elected to the White House. This practice has been commonplace under the last three presidents.
  • In an interview with the Atlantic, Sen. Mitt Romney said his colleagues in the Senate are all "really nice," except for Sanders, who is a "curmudgeon."
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement video of Sanders has been viewed millions of times on social media.
  • In the Vermont senator's latest campaign adSanders takes aim at members of the media for writing off his presidential bid in the wake of his heart attack.

The rest of the field 

Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Eric Holder and Sherrod Brown are all open to being late entry candidates in the Democratic primary. Elizabeth Warren will run her first TV ad during the Oklahoma State-Iowa State game this Saturday. Kamala Harris would sue fossil fuel companies for misleading the public about climate change. Beto O'Rourke has said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg's comments about not needing "lessons" on courage from O'Rourke were "fair" and a good "debate line." There are some Wall Street bankers who support Warren. Cory Booker trolls a Breitbart News reporter and makes a pitch on why he is the best candidate. Are predominantly white news rooms unfairly dismissing Harris?

In the polls 

Monmouth University poll of the South Carolina primary (October compared to July).

1. Joe Biden 33% (-6)
2. Elizabeth Warren 16% (+7)
3. Bernie Sanders 12% (+2)
4. Kamala Harris 6% (-6)
5. Tom Steyer 4% (+2)

A look ahead

Sanders Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., will hold a rally in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday. The campaign says Sanders and surrogates will discuss the economy, the environment and racial justice.

Tlaib, a member of the congressional group nicknamed "The Squad," has yet not publicly said she endorses Sanders for president.

Dr. Kimmel checks the campaign's heart beat

In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday night, the late show host brandished a stethoscope and checked Sanders' heart.

"After what happened the last time when we elected a president, we need to know that you even have a heart," Kimmel said.

"I do and it's functioning well," Sanders responded.

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Kit Norton

About Kit

Kit Norton is the general assignment reporter at VTDigger. He is originally from eastern Vermont and graduated from Emerson College in 2017 with a degree in journalism. In 2016, he was a recipient of The Society of Environmental Journalists' Emerging Environmental Journalist award. Kit has worked at PRI's weekly radio environmental program, Living on Earth, and has written for the online news site Truthout.

Email: [email protected]

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