The crowds looked much the same for Bernie Sanders, but the position is a new one: Democratic frontrunner.
Shortly after the Vermont Senator officially entered the race for the Democratic nomination, pundits and political experts alike began to peg him as the one to beat in a crowded Democratic field. Sanders spent much of the early part of the 2016 presidential race building name recognition against the heavily-favored Hillary Clinton, and now appears to occupy a much different place in the 2020 primary.
Sanders seems to have picked right up in his ability to draw large and enthusiastic crowds during his campaigning. As the Denver Post noted, Sanders made a series of appearances in Colorado in October and received what the newspaper called a “rock star welcome.” In his time away from national campaigning, Sanders seems to have sharpened his message about income inequality and offered a sharp contrast to Donald Trump at the appearance, the report noted.
Appearing with a number of other politicians including Congressman Jared Polis, who is running for governor of Colorado, Sanders drew the biggest ovation from the crowd.
He got another huge welcome at a later event to support state representative Emily Sirota.
“When Emily and (husband) David suggested I drop by, they told me there’d be a few people,” Sanders joked to roars from the large crowd.
Though it is still very early in the race, and the first Democratic primaries are nearly a year away, many believe that Bernie Sanders will be the frontrunner for the nomination. As The Atlantic noted, even former opponents believe that the movement Sanders started during the 2016 campaign will help carry him through a crowded field.
“Short of Joe Biden entering the race, Sanders on paper starts off with more advantages than anybody else. He’s got the largest list; he’s got the most intense following that has stayed with him since 2016; he has a proven ability to fundraise from his small-dollar base,” Brian Fallon, a Democratic strategist and former spokesman for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign, told the magazine. “He’s in the exact opposite position that he started off the 2016 campaign in.”
I'm proud to endorse @BernieSanders for president. His fight for Medicare for All, a $15 min wage & a #GreenNewDeal is our fight. He worked hard to help Colorado Dems win in 2018. We need this progressive champion in the White House! https://t.co/ynqC2xKISt #copolitics #coleg— Rep. Emily Sirota (@EmilyForCO) February 24, 2019
The report from The Atlantic noted that there is still a lot that can change in the coming months, as other candidates start to grow more name recognition, candidates are put through a busy slate of debates, and voters have to determine which candidate they feel has the best chance of beating Donald Trump. But as a number experts seem to agree, Bernie Sanders is in the driver’s seat, even if it’s just for now.