“The people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and, by the way, to the media establishment.”The Democratic Iowa caucus was still too close as midnight came and went Monday night with Hillary Clinton holding a less than .5 percent edge over Bernie Sanders with just a handful of precincts left to report.
Flanked by husband Bill and daughter Chelsea, Clinton made no overt claim of victory but indicated her belief that she nudged it out by telling supporters she was “breathing a sigh of relief.”
However, following those remarks from the former Secretary of State, Sen. Sanders addressed his supporters and thanked them as he described the situation as “a virtual tie” – one which would leave his campaign with about half of the state’s delegates.
“I think the the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and, by the way, to the media establishment,” Sanders said. “That is, given the enormous crises facing our country it is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics.”
Later, as his supporters cheered and chanted, Sanders concluded by telling the crowd what he said no other candidate would tell them or the American people. His message, he said, was that no president alone can possibly make the change that it necessary to fix the system that is “rigged” against working people. “That is why,” he said, “what Iowa has begun tonight is a political revolution.”
“Enough is enough!” Sanders concluded. And the crowd went wild.
Subsequently, in an email from the campaign, Sanders repeated his message about the Iowa outcome to his supporters nationwide:
Tonight we accomplished what the corporate media and political establishment once believed was impossible: after trailing Hillary Clinton in Iowa throughout this entire campaign, it looks as if we will leave the state with roughly the same number of delegates.
I want to be clear with you about what this really means. Tonight’s result is a victory for our political revolution. We have proved that when people come together, anything is possible. New Hampshire votes next, where we have a slight lead in the polls. If we win there, we’ll have all the momentum.
Offering his organization’s take on the results, Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee said Iowa voters have proved that an appeal to bold and aggressive policies are clearly doing the most to stir voter passions.
“Bernie Sanders defied expectations and Hillary Clinton fought Iowa to a virtual tie in the same way — by appealing to a growing economic populist movement,” said Green. “Put simply: both aimed to appeal to progressives by competing to be bolder on everything from Wall Street reform to jailing bankers who broke the law and making college debt free.”
Green said that the PCCC’s polling has confirmed that an appeal to populism was a winning strategy in Iowa, and will be elsewhere across the country.
“This will likely be a long primary as Clinton and Sanders compete for the enthusiasm of progressive voters,” concluded Green. “Any candidate who wants to win beyond Iowa will need to tap into that economic populist energy to get the funding, volunteers, and votes needed to win the primaries and the general election. Iowa shows that the progressive movement, and the Elizabeth Warren Wing of the Democratic Party, are booming.”
This post first appeared in Common Dreams.