Sprung from Washington, Sanders Hits the Trail in Iowa

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(Bloomberg) -- Cut loose from impeachment jury duty in Washington, newly minted front-runner Bernie Sanders returned to Iowa on Saturday and implored his supporters not to assume he’ll finish strong. He urged them to not only show up and support him at the presidential nominating caucus Monday, but to bring a friend.

“If the voter turnout is low, we are going to lose,” Sanders said at Simpson College in Indianola. “Simple as that.”

Sanders, who has risen to the top of Iowa polls, has focused on expanding the electorate with targeted outreach to young and Latino voters, and he and his campaign have argued that high voter turnout will bode well for the Vermont senator.

“If they come out in large numbers, we’re going to win,” Sanders said.

Sanders has had a remarkable turnaround since a heart attack in October threatened to doom his second presidential bid. Now, buoyed by endorsements from some of the party’s newest progressive stars, Sanders is in a good position to possibly win the Iowa caucuses.

On Saturday, he was introduced by Representatives Ilhan Omar and Pramila Jayapal, two of the most high-profile progressive members of Congress.

Throughout the campaign, Sanders has hewed closely to his core message of a fundamental redistribution in wealth in the country with his signature policies proposals of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. He kept close to that script on Saturday.

“We trust him because of the moral clarity he has demonstrated over the course of his lifetime,” Jane Sanders, his wife, said in her introduction.

His rise to front-runner, however, has worried many in the Democratic Party, who are unsure someone who identifies as a democratic socialist can beat President Donald Trump. Omar pushed back on those critiques on Saturday, dismissing those who call Sanders “radical” and “divisive.”

“These are the same attacks the status quo has used throughout history to demonize multiracial, working-class movements,” she said.

Later on Saturday, Sanders will campaign in Cedar Rapids at a concert with Vampire Weekend.

(DISCLAIMER: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic nomination for president. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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