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Bernie Sanders: Secret Service Protection & High Iowa Caucus Expectations

Bernie Sanders is finally getting Secret Service protection after more than nine months on the campaign trail. This may be what Sanders and President Obama discussed during their meeting on Wednesday, along with other topics.

Many folks were unaware that Bernie Sanders did not have Secret Service protection already. It is generally assumed that any presidential candidate is afforded due protection, but that is not accurate.

According to KMBC, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson revealed that Bernie Sanders would likely be granted Secret Service protection based on the sheer numbers of the crowds he draws at his events. Sanders requested the Secret Service protection after Johnson made the announcement.

The Secret Service protection for Sanders is a long time coming, and his supporters have questioned why the government waited so long to provide any kind of protection. Donald Trump received Secret Service protection several months prior to Sanders. Ben Carson has also had a Secret Service detail due to the heinous nature of threats he has received.

Earlier in January, the Las Vegas Sun reported that a bullet hole was discovered in the window of a Sanders campaign headquarters in northwest Las Vegas. Sanders was in the building at the time the bullet was discovered. Although local media in Las Vegas covered the story, national media failed to report on it, essentially muting the threat to Sanders. However, that may have been a Sanders campaign strategy, due to the risk of copycat attempts if they had widely publicized the possible assassination attempt.

Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, explained why Sanders did not insist on making noise about the matter.

“It is being investigated by the appropriate authorities. Beyond that, we generally don’t like to talk about security matters. We’ll just leave it there — just to say that it’s a serious concern.”

Currently, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Hillary Clinton all have Secret Service protection. Clinton’s protection was automatic, given her status as former First Lady.

MANCHESTER, IA - JANUARY 30: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and his wife Jane O'Meara Sanders stand on the stage during a campaign rally at the Delaware County Fairgrounds January 30, 2016 in Manchester, Iowa. Sanders continued to seek for support for the Democratic nomination prior to the Iowa caucus on February 1. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, IA – JANUARY 30: Bernie Sanders and wife Jane Sanders (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rumors have floated about the Secret Service for days, especially since Bernie’s meeting with the President earlier this week, but until now it remained unofficial. Petitions were circulated on Change.org to compel the Obama administration to provide a Secret Service detail for him. The petition received more than 10,000 signatures.

Why the Obama Administration waited so long to provide Bernie Sanders with Secret Service protection is unclear given his popularity among young voters and his often controversial proposals.

Sanders is not shy about cracking down on Wall Street. He knows the big corporations will hate him because he will do his best to prosecute banking fraud, force banks to curtail risky business practices, and even more importantly, to end the days of tax havens.

While he was relatively ignored, he was safe, but now that Bernie is gaining traction among demographics other than young, white males, his exposure level in the media has increased. This makes him more threatening to the establishment, and to people who believe his proposals would bring us down a Soviet-like road to dictatorial communism.

With just days left before the Iowa caucuses, Bernie’s popularity is soaring to unheard-of levels. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad discussed the possible record turnouts for the nation’s first primary caucuses with C-SPAN.

“Both Republicans and Democrats have worked on having the caucuses the same night and with all the technology…we’re going to see a record turnout, so there could be some challenges with that.”

He noted that an impending snow storm could make getting to caucus locations difficult, but Iowans do take their voting responsibilities seriously. He acknowledged that 2016 is the year of the “Outsiders” and could make for an interesting race.

“It’s kind of an outsiders year…everybody thought there would be a coronation…of Secretary Clinton. And now we see Bernie Sanders is really surging. That races will be very close. On the Democrat ticket, if you don’t get 15 percent, you’re not considered viable, so a lot may hinge on who the O’Malley people go for if they don’t have 15 percent in their caucus.”

As noted in an earlier Inquisitr story, a Public Policy Polling from January 15 showed the majority of O’Malley supporters would switch to Bernie Sanders. According to the poll, 43 percent would switch to Bernie Sanders’ side, while only 20 would go with Clinton. There were no statistics on the undecided O’Malley supporters, but even split down the middle the remainder would benefit Sanders more than they would Hillary Clinton.

The high number of supporters alone should justify Secret Service protection, and with the Iowa caucuses just around the corner, Bernie Sanders supporters are breathing a bit easier knowing their favorite candidate will have the men in black covering his back.

[Photo: Alex Wong/Getty]

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