Bernie Sanders: Organizing the Political Revolution
Located right next to the Hy-Vee on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, the Bernie Sanders Headquarters appears rather unassuming. However, upon entering, it is clear that Bernie Sanders has garnered support and enthusiasm unlike any other candidate. The very first thing one sees upon entering the former H&R Block office is a wall painting of the outline of Sen. Sanders’ glasses and eccentric hairstyle against a blue background.
The east wall of the main room is adorned with colorful quote bubbles from the Vermont Senator outlining his vision for America. On the west wall, issues such as “Women’s Rights” and “Immigration” have been written in giant letters and then surrounded by examples of how Senator Sanders has supported such initiatives throughout his career in Congress. Perhaps the most striking image in the room, however, is the wall with “Organizing the Political Revolution” scrawled across it, surrounded by over fifty signatures of Sanders’ supporters.
Indeed, supporters of Senator Sanders view his campaign as nothing short of a political revolution. Caucus Director Brendan Summers says that voters are ready to hear the truth on real issues, issues that Sanders has been talking about for over thirty years. Director Summers is confident that Senator Sanders will win Iowa because he supports at least one issue that every person can be passionate about, whether it be student loan debt, healthcare reform, or any other issue posted on the walls of the room. Indeed, this passion seems capable of transcending differences in race, religion, age and sex. The volunteers in the office included an African-American man wearing a cross around his neck, a woman with a Southern accent brandishing cowgirl-esque boots, young Hispanics as well as whites. It would be incredibly difficult to put one label on all Sanders supporters.
Summers adds that this political revolution is larger than Sanders himself, it’s about issues that impact the lives of Americans regularly. And the message is resonating. Senator Sanders now leads Hillary Clinton by nine points in New Hampshire, and the gap is closing in Iowa. Recently, Senator Sanders drew a crowd of over 2,500 in Council Bluffs. Summers echoes Sanders’ sentiment that big money in politics limits the power of democracy. However, Summers believes that if the political revolution motivates enough Iowans to exercise their right to vote, the people can take the power back from the Super PACs and big-time donors like the Koch brothers. In fact, his campaign sign reads “Paid for by Bernie 2016 (not the billionaires).” Senator Sanders is clearly proud of his grassroots movement, and recently showed it by surprising his supporters before they went knocking door to door. Indeed, Summers and the rest of the campaign office is excited for the coming months. Very excited.