Jarvill: Moving like Bernie

BY SAM JARVILL | JULY 13, 2015 5:00 AM

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As the first state in the nation to have a caucus, Iowa plays a particularly large role in determining presidential campaigns. Since her announcement, the Democrat seen as the frontrunner so far is Hillary Clinton. That being said, there is Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., that has created a buzz among Iowans and a worry in the Clinton camp.

Sanders has been feeling out Iowa for some time but seemed to gain his footing after a 2,500-person rally in Council Bluffs on July 3. According to the New York Times, in May, Clinton led the Democratic candidacy with 60 percent support to Sanders’ 15 percent in a Quinnipiac Poll. Last week, that same poll showed Clinton at 52 percent to Sanders’ 33 percent.

This may not seem relevant, because the election won’t take place for more than a year. However, it is relevant. The Iowa caucuses have been a place in which candidates have had make-or-break moments in their campaigns. Four Democrats in six caucuses (without a sitting Demcrat president) who won in Iowa have ended up as their party’s nominee; in 1972 and 1976, “uncommitted” voters led the pack. Two Republican candidates out of six have done so as well.

Iowans have crucial, yet preliminary, deciding factors in how the presidential race starts, which has ramifications. Sanders realizes this; he has made stops all across the state. Everywhere he has stopped, large crowds have appeared. These large groups of Iowans could be the key to him taking down the Clinton campaign, which is considered a juggernaut because of all the money that has been raised.

A loss in Iowa would be a sign of weakness, and a little bit of déjà vu for Clinton. She expected to win the state in 2008 but fell to third behind future-President Obama and John Edwards. After that loss, it was news that one of her aides blew off the caucuses in our state, calling them unimportant. Yet, Iowans may have been a key reason she lost the presidency.

Clinton was quoted in the Times talking about the crowds that Sanders brings in, saying “Well, we each run our own campaigns, and I always knew this was going to be competitive.”

That may seem like a safe answer, but does it show a little worry?

She acknowledges her opponent’s campaign, which may be a sign she has grown since 2008. As in any campaign, there will be ups and downs, but Sanders is having a good amount of ups at this point in time.

Because his relatively left-leaning liberal platform, it seemed against the odds he would gain such momentum this early in the campaign trail. As a self-identifying “socialist,” he has seemingly been working against such odds in an agricultural state such as Iowa. The question is, will he maintain this momentum and upset the favorite, Clinton?

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