Election 2016: Bernie Sanders Trending With #SandersOnAPlane -- Lindsey Graham, George Pataki Drop Out Of Race

As we continue to draw nearer to the presidential election primaries, the enormous pool of candidates continues to shrink. While the serious contenders like Bernie Sanders continue to build momentum, long-shot candidates without much of a following, like Lindsey Graham, are admitting defeat.

As he continues to try to catch former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Sanders received a lot of social media attention when fellow passengers praised the POTUS hopeful for flying coach like a middle-class citizen, rather than using taxpayer-funded private jets. The oldest candidate in the race was trending on Facebook and Twitter with #SandersOnAPlane. The hashtag has been building since November, as potential voters continue to post photos and memes showing that they truly #FeelTheBern. Meanwhile, GOP candidates continue to thin the herd, as both Lindsey Graham and George Pataki announced this week that they are gracefully bowing out.

As CNN Politics reports, if you look into the current hashtag craze, you'll find some photos of Bernie Sanders flying coach that date back to the summer months. It would appear that a relatively slow post-Christmas, pre-New Year news cycle, along with the most inspired social media following of any candidate, is to thank for the trending status for the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist.
This support fits in well with Senator Sanders' constant call that he is the candidate for the middle class. He has said time and time again that he doesn't care if Wall Street doesn't like him, that he wants to fix America's income gap and that the economy needs to be regulated to help everyone outside of the top 1 percent. In an era where politicians are assumed to be liars and millennials are hungry for a candidate who seems genuine, Sanders is showing that he doesn't feel like he deserves special treatment -- that politicians should be treated just like anyone else. That sentiment is winning over a lot of undecided voters who aren't happy with the decline of the middle class.South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, on the other hand, isn't exactly trending. As the Bell Ringer reports, Graham announced on Monday that he was ending his presidential campaign. The only thing Graham really stuck out for among the other GOP hopefuls was his constant poking and prodding of fellow candidate Donald Trump. Now, the few who did support Graham's efforts, along with the candidates still in the race, await the Senator's endorsement. There are 54 Republican senators in the chamber, and only 10 of them have given their official endorsement for a candidate currently running.

According to the most recent presidential election polls, Donald Trump continues to dominate the GOP race, currently in the lead with 39 percent of the Republican voters on his side. Ted Cruz is in a distant second, with 18 percent.

Along those same lines, former Governor of New York George Pataki ended his campaign the next day, eliminating one more opponent for guys like Trump, Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush. Having run a campaign that never gained traction, his announcement included the following sentiment.
"While tonight is the end of my journey for the White House as I suspend my campaign for president, I am confident we can elect the right person. Someone who will bring us together and who understands that politicians, including the president, must be the people's servant and not their master. I know the best of America is still ahead of us."
The remaining candidates, led by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz, have just one month left until the presidential election primaries get under way. They begin in Iowa on February 1.

[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]