Thousands Flock To See Sanders In Denver

Photo via TriLakes Dems

Photo via TriLakes Dems

The Denver Post’s John Frank reports on last night’s big rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont’s upstart presidential campaign, which drew his largest crowd yet to the University of Denver’s Ritchie Center:

The 73-year-old Independent spoke for an hour and hit a nerve on economic issues as he advocated for an end to income inequality as well as a higher minimum wage, pay equity for women and more government spending on infrastructure.

“What we are doing tonight is we are sending a message to the billionaire class and that is: You can’t have it all!” Sanders said, shouting to a crowd that filled a University of Denver gymnasium and spilled onto a nearby lacrosse field. “The unquestionable greed of the billionaire class is destroying this nation and it has got to end.”

The size and energy of the crowd — which gave Sanders numerous standing ovations and repeatedly chanted his name — reflected a craving among some in the Democratic Party for an alternative to 2016 front-runner Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and first lady.

There’s a temptation in the media today to use the growing popularity of Sanders’ campaign as evidence of a groundswell against the likely 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But we don’t see an insurgency against any particular candidate being expressed by Sanders or his supporters as much as a desire for better policies–if you will, more traditionally Democratic policy priorities, like a higher minimum wage, affordable education and health care, and a robust social safety net.

Over the last few decades, and especially since the election of Barack Obama as President in 2008, much of the traditional Democratic platform has been pushed out of “the mainstream” by successful conservative domination of the limits of the debate. The “Overton Window” theory, which originates with a conservative thinktank in Michigan, helps explain the range of mainstream political proposals at any given moment–and how that range of acceptability is itself manipulated by the media and the pundit class. In recent years, this process has not been well grounded in reality, as the right became increasingly unrealistic about their own agenda, and the vilification of Obama exaggerated distantly beyond anything he has actually accomplished as President.

If you accept that the chances of Sanders winning the Democratic nomination for President are not good, which you should and he does, then his campaign makes another kind of sense: kicking the “Overton Window” back in the direction of progressive policies from the last few decades of skewing heavily to the right. This means rallying the public around progressive policy solutions, and pushing the Democratic frontrunner to embrace a more progressive agenda.

Objectively speaking, it’s hard to see how this is a bad thing. For anyone.

45 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. notaskinnycook says:

    I was having this exact conversation with my niece  last night. If Sanders manages to pull the Democratic party back to the center- left from the center right-ish where it's been ever since Bill Clinton dragged it there. he will have accomplished a Herculean feat. Not bad for an old guy.

    • BlueCat says:

      Exactly. Heck, the pull on HRC has been evident for weeks. He doesn't have to be (and certainly won't be) nominated to play a hugely important role in correcting the political landscape, bringing it closer to where it was before Reagan convinced all the Dems that there was no future for anything but conservatism in American politics. When any far rightie who isn't completely nuts is called moderate and there are virtually no Dems in office who aren't distinctly to right of Eisenhower, yet they're called liberal extremists, as extreme as the 21st century right, even by the Dem President who spent his first term dissing them and bending over backwards to please a Republican party that is more extremely conservative than at any time in its history, it's time for that correction. 

  2. kickshot says:

    My t-shirt is on the way!!!

    I hope that it doesn't end up next to my old Kucinich t-shirt.

  3. Canines says:

    Bill Maher: “You’ve already got Hillary Clinton talking like Elizabeth Warren.”

  4. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Just another tax & spend liberal. Keep your hands out of my wallet. 

    • Canines says:

      Sanders spoke in Denver about wanting to tax all Wall Street stock transactions and, for instance, put the funds towards free college tuition for students. The notion of taxation brought joy to my heart.


    • MichaelBowman says:

      There isn't be a lot of daylight between his positions and those of Teddy Roosevelt…


      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        Actually there is a lot of daylight between Sanders and T.R. They're similar in that T.R. was a trust buster, and, to a degree, anti-big business. Sanders, in contrast, wants to spend a lot more money on social programs. I worked for over 20 years in a government social services program; with contacts into & with other such programs. They're all full of waste and fraud, that take away from the good that can be done.

        Free college tuition brings to mind the old acronym  TANSTAAFL  ("there ain't no such thing as a free lunch"  Somebody has to pay for it). 

        Sanders' idea about a tax on Wall Street stock transactions is not new, and is supportable as long as it's modest.

        Of course, we can also talk about big wastes of money like the F-35 fighter plane; the Aurora VA hospital; and the "George H.W. Bush," a new aircraft carrier that is already obsolete due to Chinese ship killer missiles against which we have no defense. 

        Bernie plays well in Denver/Boulder which are liberal hotbeds. Wonder how he’d play in Colorado Springs, or Grand Junction?

        • vanbarbee says:

          This guy hits Bernie for proposing sensible solutions to real world problems while how many dozens of Republican candidates are out there talking about how they'd sink our country in debt while simultaneously starting every war they can think of…

        • BlueCat says:

          Ummm,  college is considered part of public education for those who qualify in the rest of the civilized world, not a free lunch. it's publicly funded.  Not free but something they're willing to support. Like decent infrastructure.That's why it's in Europe, not here, that you now find truer meritocracy, greater upward mobility, greater middle class prosperity and happier populations. And as the Iraq war and the privatization of everything in the military from services to mercenaries, the privatization of correction facilities for youth, for profit diploma mills, the entire for profit private health insurance industry, to name a few examples, attest, it's pretty hard to match privatization for waste and corruption. But “freedom”, right? Horrible to have better pay, better education, better healthcare, better retirement, more opportunity to move up in the world. So much better to have a middle class worse off every decade as long as “liberty”.

        • MichaelBowman says:

          I think Bernie's whole point is there is no such thing as a 'free lunch'.  But the people getting the free lunch aren't who Fox News would like the masses to believe are the freeloaders. 

        • gaf says:

          Bernie is playing damn well with the Dems I know in Colorado Springs.

        • BlueCat says:

          And another thing CHB. According to your way of looking at things, if you were working for the government for 20 years weren't your hands in my wallet? Weren't those awful taxes you're always complaining about paying your salary and providing your benefits? Bet that 20 year stretch has a lot to do with how secure you brag about being now. Just like my one black sheep hard right uncle who, as a firefighter, had his income, healthcare and retirement entirely tax payer financed as a government employee and makes the same statements about not wanting other people's hands in his pockets. Honestly, it's comical. You people slay me.

    • notaskinnycook says:

      Would that be as opposed to a spend and not tax "conservative" like George Bush the Younger, who put two wars on the national credit card that our double-great grandchildren will still be paying for? C'mon C.H.B., I expect more from you. surprise

    • MADCO says:

      As opposed to the borrow and spend crowd you've been supporting?  Keep your hands outta my kids' wallet.

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        Of course, MADCO, where did I say that I was a supporter of G.W. Bush; or, excuse me, President Cheney, and their spending madness. Note that the F-35 and the aircraft carrier, that I did mention, originated in that administration. As for Medicare Part D, as mentioned by Michael, another unfunded mandate.

        And please tell me why the biggest health care provider in the country, Medicare, is not allowed to obtain bids on prescription drugs, but is required to pay what big pharma wants. My point is simple; whether it's a G.W. Bush or a Sanders, the taxpayers end up getting screwed. 

        • MADCO says:

          So we agree- Bush/Cheney were bad for America. (America!! Fuck, yeah!)

          Reagan ran up Huge deficits- no fiscal conservative there. 

          Nixon? Criminal and passed the clean water act and created the EPA.

          So it's Ike, he's the one we like.  Is all that infrastructure ok with you?*

          Perhaps I overstated and presumed you would have favored the R centre right moderate candidate more than the D centre right Obama. But if you're saying that Romney and McCain would have done about the same on the deficit- you're stil wrong. They would have cut taxes on the rich and uber rich, and that would have delayed recovery. We need more progressive taxation, not less.

          and if it's about job creation- great make domestic capital investment 100% tax deductible.   Wait, it is.  Trickle down is stupid- only works at the boundaries ( near 0 and 100). Everywhere else' in the curve, it's all trickle up. And, of course, turtles.



          *Questions get question marks, yes?

          • BlueCat says:

            Not to mention how well don't tax and don't spend, meaning don't invest for the public good, is working in that perfect lab for failed conservative policy, the state of Kansas.

    • taterheaptom says:

      I know… from the #FlatLand to Colorado's Frothy Mountains '(1 term) Senator' Ewww Gross Big-Hand Lovin'  Rick Santorum, Colorado GOP's #1 pick for 2012… since @DanMaes of the #UN bike #Agenda21 – secret agent man wing of the Grand Old Paranoiacs worked out so well.  But the field is ripe for pickin' this year!  Maybe some @BenCarson?  Ted "I didn't know he was a fascist wingnut when I cashed his check'"Cruz, Lindsey "My hair IS on FIRE!" Graham, or maybe Mike "get on my Email list" Huckster?  Oh the bench is deep, CHB.  

  5. mamajama55 says:

    12 minutes of Bernie's speech at DU from CSPAN. I've been a fan of Bernie for years,  ever since he used to come on Thom Hartman's Air America program, in the "Brunch with Bernie" segments.


    • MichaelBowman says:

      He's not only talking arithmetic…he's talking morality. If he's a socialist…then sign me up. In the meantime I'll enjoy the fact that I pay the same for a postage stamp to send a letter from Wray to the east coast – the same as someone in Denver sending articles across the street.  I'll enjoy our local cooperative telephone association, who charges the same monthly rate whether you are at the end of a 20-mile line of high-speed fiber or next to the switching station.  I'll enjoy the best of the socialist programs: my local rural electric cooperative association. If you happen to drive through Kirk or Anton, stop by and enjoy a snack at the local food cooperative – and then fill up with gas at the cooperative gas station. Who’d have thunk – a region that developed itself on the back of such socialist programs?

      • MADCO says:

        Well…. jeez, it sounds so practical when you say it like that.


        But I think everyone agrees it's not really socialism when people choose it for themselves. It's more like Democracy in action, or something – never Socialism. And not Chrisitan. So, ya know, the whole Christian Social Democrat thing is just impossible. 

      • I don't think that technically any of these are Socialist, except the Postal Service – established by the US Constitution.

        Cooperatives aren't government owned or controlled, though some of them are government sanctioned and regulated. Coops are actually more Communist from an economic standpoint. 🙂 They're also a practical idea that overcomes the political propaganda designed to denigrate such things. (And yes, you do hear partisan crap about coops – e.g. how "hippie" and communist they are – occasionally.)

        • MADCO says:

          sure if you want to get all technical, co-ops are far more communist and collective.


           Sure if you want to get all technical, co-ops are far more communist and collective.


          But we all know there's no Commies in Colorado. No way.


           No way.


          Hippies sure lots of them 

  6. Andrew Carnegie says:

    Go Bernie Go.

    Getting the old bat to move to the left makes for great sound bites.


  7. The thing that's exciting people about Bernie isn't just typical "liberal" talk. I know a number of independent and/or non-participating young citizens who are interested in Sanders because he speaks the language of so many frustrated (potential) voters.
     He even strikes a chord with some Tea Party types when he talks about the influence of business over government, and how we – the common citizen – should be getting a better deal.

    My reservation about Sanders in a general election isn't whether he could win based on his ideas – I believe he could. My reservation about him has always been whether his personal charisma could carry him through the media portion of the race. People vote on their gut feelings based on what they see and hear…

    • taterheaptom says:

      There area number of conservative libertarian minded folks in these rural parts that are really upset about the Country Club Coronation they see coming from the GOP, and are saying favorable things about Bernie like "I may even consider voting for a Democrat (if it's Bernie) 'cuz I would never vote for another Bush!" 

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