There’s an old – well, I don’t actually know if it’s old – saying, which is so ubiquitous I don’t even know where it’s from, and it goes like this: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
I’m glad Sanders has finally moved past phase 1. Probably skipped right to phase 3, because laughing at him? He’s an elderly Jewish man. He’s inherently funny. He is a Billy Crystal routine come to life. And that’s O.K. He handles it well.
I’m not sure exactly, precisely what triggered the change. Living in Prague, I didn’t actually watch the Democratic debate live. However, when I looked at facebook today, I saw that some of my Hillary supporting friends (well, one in particular) were losing their shit. Not just the usual “I respect Bernie but he can’t win” stuff. No, this was gloves off nasty shit. A rumor that he once yelled at one of his staffers 20 years ago, mischaracterizations of votes, serious invective.
Since this is the day after the debate, I’m assuming it was something that he said, and it must have been good. I’m encouraged. If he is no longer being ignored, if he starts to get something closer to equal coverage, then within the next month or so his name recognition will be up to saturation level – i.e. high enough that anybody, who’s smart enough to know when it’s election day and how to get to their local polling place, will have heard of him.
Bernie leads Hillary among millenials. He is quite popular among veterans. He is making huge inroads into the women’s vote and the black vote, and those are two demographics which have traditionally been favorable to Hillary. But one demographic where Sanders comes in way ahead of Clinton is among people who’ve heard of Sanders.
Now that they’ve stopped ignoring him, that group is going to grow by leaps and bounds.