To every presidential campaign there is a cycle. There are high points and low points; there are victories and setbacks and perhaps, above all, there is hand-wringing. It is the latter cycle in which Democrats find themselves. Since the 2016 presidential race began, Hillary Clinton has been the assumed Democratic frontrunner, with no apparent political rival to stop her from, this time, grabbing the brass ring. Then along came Senator Bernie Sanders to challenge Clinton from the left.
Before you knew it, Sanders, a 73-year-old socialist from Vermont with a thick Brooklyn accent and a populist, anti-Wall Street and 1% message, was shaking Democrats out of their pro-Clinton slumber. Crowds of more than 20,000 people filled arenas in Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle. Democratic partisans turned out in conservative locales such as New Orleans and Dallas to hear Sanders decry the 1% and pledge radical political change.