On Friday, in a sports center in Clive, a suburb of Des Moines, Justin Vernon, the artist behind the successful pop group Bon Iver, ended his concert singing by Bob Dylan that “times are changing”. “There are only a few opportunities in a lifetime to change the course of history. Who knew that Iowa would have that opportunity? ”He said. He did not need to mention the name of the candidate he came to support, who was not even in the city, to detonate the euphoria of the 2,000 congregants. On Saturday, in the city of Cedar Rapids, with the group Vampire Weekend and already with the candidate as headliner, 3,000 people attended. Nothing comparable has been seen in the campaign of the Democratic Party primaries that start this Monday in Iowa (USA).
Bernie Sanders sets the pace in the final stretch of the campaign. Although centrist Joe Biden leads the polls nationwide, Sanders is on his heels across the country and is the favorite in this first test. Only at the events of Donald Trump in the last Republican primaries are crowds comparable to those of the senator recalled. Drag hordes of youth. Enthusiasm is contagious. The establishment Democrat who fears him, young people who support him massively, moderates who only want to avoid four more years of Trump, the entire country will attend the meeting of the Bernie Sanders revolution with voters on Monday, four years later.
After losing the 2016 primary to Hillary Clinton, hiking has expanded. Three years of the Trump Administration appear to have broken some of the barriers that contained the candidate’s potential. Public health for all, minimum wage of 15 dollars an hour (13.50 euros), free university. His proposals, branded as radicals four years ago, are at the center of the debate today. And his ability to beat Trump is no longer ruled out beforehand.
“There is a lot of discussion about eligibility, about which candidate is more likely to defeat Trump. Let’s do a scientific survey, “he suggested to a group of supporters, during a stop at a cafe in the town of Grinnell. He asked them to raise their hands if they considered him to be the best prepared, and he proceeded to declare himself the winner based on “an in-depth analysis of the American electorate.”
But it is true that inertia seems to be on your side. At other candidates’ events, there are voters who supported Clinton in 2016 but who today, with the urgency of defeating Trump, are considering voting for Sanders. Like Blake Miller, 50, who attended a Joe Biden meeting with voters, who supported Clinton in 2016. He has not yet decided to vote, he says, but sees “more energy on the left” and his “only priority” is “Get Trump out of the White House.”
Also at the Bernie Sanders events are voters who succumbed in 2016 to Trump’s anti-system fury and who this year will support Sanders. This is the case of Elric Ekstrand, 22, who attends the Bon Iver concert for Sanders with his sister Chance, 18. “I voted for Trump four years ago because I didn’t like Hillary, and when she was nominated, many of the youtubers Bernie’s supporters I followed convinced me to vote for Trump. I got your message about rooting Washington. But today I think Bernie has a lot of possibilities. “
“And if Sanders doesn’t win, will he vote for the candidate that the Democrats finally choose?”
“It would be a very hard decision.” I don’t want Trump again, but I don’t know if he could vote for someone like Joe Biden.
In the heat of the final stretch, the old ghosts of the past are revived. The specter of the division that weighed down the 2016 primaries cast a shadow over the last days of the campaign. He is resurrected by speakers such as Michael Moore, the 2004 Cannes Palme d’Or winner filmmaker, who lashes out from the stage against the Democratic National Committee for changing the rules of debate so that billionaire Michael Bloomberg can participate in the following . Just as, from the same stage, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib does not hesitate to boo Hillary Clinton, from the popular batch of young people who arrived last year in the Lower House and who, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ihan Omar, became politicized with Sanders and have joined his campaign.
Sanders’ favorite status, in a state he lost four times four years ago, has also made him the object of criticism from other candidates, who fear that a good result in Iowa will trigger a succession of victories that bring him closer to the nomination. “I definitely don’t want 2020 to look like 2016 in any way. The best way to win is the best way to govern: to leave behind the politics of the past ”, said the pragmatic Pete Buttigieg, third in the state survey averages, in an act at a school in the rural town of Anamosa. “Senator Sanders suggests that it is either the revolution or it is the status quo, that there is nothing in between. I am here to remember that we have a majority of Americans, more than when Obama was leading the change. “
Barack Obama’s legacy is the star argument of Joe Biden, who was his vice president and today is a national favorite. He mentions his name over and over again. It works among a certain audience, and that of its actions in Iowa is strikingly greater, but doubts are growing that a simple offer of a return to the past, to a past that ended precisely with the election of Donald Trump, is a message capable of enthusing the country.
The newspaper survey Des Moines Register It has been published for 76 years the weekend before the Iowa (USA) primaries. It is the absolute reference in a State that is particularly difficult to predict, since voters who reach the final stretch undecided abound, and it constitutes the best thermometer of the vigor of the candidates. But on Saturday night, hours before its expected publication, the newspaper announced in an unprecedented decision that this year it would not be published due to irregularities detected in the methodology. The reason is a complaint from the Pete Buttigieg campaign, which claimed that the name of his candidate had not been included in the call to a voter among the options. Without the benchmark survey, the uncertainty this Monday is even higher.