Thousands Flock To See Bernie Sanders In Madison Print
Written by GBP Staff   
Monday, 28 March 2016 10:16


'The Bern' comes to town as the Wisconsin Primary takes on an unexpected importance nationally. Polls show Clinton and Sanders are essentially tied in the state as delegate count tightens with Sanders wins in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii over the weekend.

MADISON - Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders came to Madison Saturday and the crowd loved it.

"You guys ready for a radical idea? Why not? This is Madison, Wisconsin," Sanders told the cheering crowd. "...We have to create an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1%."

Sanders came to town riding a high of caucus wins in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. He has won five of the last six contests with his competitor for the nomination, former Secretary of State and New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

hillary-clintonClinton has showed greater strength early in the long primary and caucus process that leads to the nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia July 25th-28th, 2016. The voting this year has been front loaded with primaries and caucuses in southern states where she has a larger base of support among more centralist traditional democrats.

Clinton's supporters and the national media have tried to pad that lead with the assumed votes of hundreds of party insiders called "super delegates" to give their candidate an "insurmountable lead". However, the votes of the super delegates cannot be counted on until convention time, since they can support the candidate of their choosing independent of the primaries and caucuses.

Sanders is now poised to narrow the delegate gap with Clinton even further, and the April 5th Wisconsin Primary has taken on a major importance. Wisconsin won't be an easy win for Sanders, an outsider who has served as an independent in the Senate but is running as a Democrat in the presidential race. But his supporters, mostly the younger and more progressive wing of the party and independents, are optimistic.

Saturday was a sort of homecoming for Sanders, who in July 2015 spoke for an hour to about 10,000 people in a larger coliseum next door to the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report, Sanders told the crowd Saturday he is picking up momentum after struggling to win earlier primaries in the South.

"We knew things were going to improve as we headed West," Sanders said. "We are making significant inroads in Secretary Clinton's lead and we have, with your support here in Wisconsin, a path toward victory."

Though Sanders had plenty of people in his audience, relatively few elected officials spoke at the rally besides Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.

Mark PocanU.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), an unabashedly liberal member of Congress who represents Madison, has stayed neutral in the presidential primary even though Sanders might seem a good fit for Pocan and his district.

"I just don't think it's about individual campaigns," Pocan said Friday. "It's about (beating Republicans in) November. I'm trying to keep my eye on the prize."

In his speech, Sanders singled out Gov. Scott Walker for the state's law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. The governor and GOP lawmakers were trying to boost their chances by making it harder for groups like minorities to vote, he said.

"If you cannot win in a free and fair election where everybody votes, get out of politics!" Sanders told Wisconsin Republicans.

Many of the political experts are closely watching the Marquette University Law School Polls for a clue on where the votes will be going. The last two polls highlight how important younger voters are for Sanders and among likely voters of all age groups, Clinton and Sanders are tied at 44% to 44%. The next poll comes out this week.