Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gets big crowds at his events in his quest to win the 2016 Democrat Presidential race.
Too big, apparently-at least in the eyes of some.
The large crowds are bolstering the image of Sanders as a radical Socialist too extreme to beat Hillary or the Republicans, so Sanders is now holding smaller rallies to seem more “Presidential.”
According to The New York Times:
“Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont started a new phase in his presidential campaign here on Sunday, when, after a summer of holding huge rallies, he began using smaller-scale events with voters to make the case that he would be electable as the 2016 Democratic nominee because his liberal views could attract broad political support. He also announced that he would soon deliver a speech describing why he is a democratic socialist, a political ideology that some Democrats fear could be easily caricatured and ultimately derail his candidacy.
Speaking to 200 people on a front lawn in this college town, Mr. Sanders, one of two independents in the Senate, sought to frame his call for trillions of dollars in new federal spending and higher taxes on the wealthy as fair-minded proposals to support widely popular ideas. He argued against a likely freeze for cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security benefits in 2016, for instance, saying that retired and disabled Americans deserved more generous benefits and that he would finance them by raising payroll taxes on wealthy Americans.
He said his ideas were hardly “radical,” noting that he had attracted a record number of donors – more than 650,000 so far – and raised $26 million from July to September without having a “super PAC” that could take huge sums of money.
Advisers to Mr. Sanders said the smaller events were critical to addressing doubts about whether he could win the presidential election – a challenge that isn’t well suited to the frenzied environment of his rallies. While Mr. Sanders is not a huge fan of the schmoozing that is a staple of smaller events, he is well aware that he stands to gain if he can go into yards, living rooms and other small settings and persuasively allay concerns about being a democratic socialist or having ideas that congressional Republicans would never support.
Mr. Sanders is focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire because victories in those two states – which hold the first nominating contests, in early February – would give him political momentum against his leading opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state, while raising doubts about her as a prospective presidential nominee. (Mrs. Clinton is running ahead of Mr. Sanders in Iowa opinion polls, while he has a small lead in New Hampshire.)”