Clinton and Sanders are appealing to two diametrically opposed impulses in Democratic voters. Clinton’s campaign is based on fear – fear that Republicans will return to power and undo all the progress Obama has made since 2009, just as they undid everything her husband achieved in the 1990s. Sanders, on the other hand, is running on hope – hope for what he calls a “political revolution” that will take power out of the hands of billionaires and restore it to the middle class.
In a campaign rally in Des Moines on 30 January, Hillary accused that the Republicans want to go right back to failed economic policies. Her campaign is not about moving the country forward; it’s about preventing the country from slipping backward. That impulse inspired her attack on Sanders’s proposal for a single-payer health care system. She said that she wanted to cut insurance cost, but does not intend to start over. She claimed Sander’s single-payer system is not achievable.
On the same day, Bernie attended a gathering at the Heartland Acres Agribition Center in the village of Independence, north of Marion. Sanders hits the audience with statistics to convince them that America needs a major change to deal with massive income/wealth inequality (58 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent); broken criminal justice system (more Americans in prison than Chinese); employment conditions (Americans work the longest hours of any country on Earth); and other issues affecting issues affecting American lives.
“What this campaign is about is transforming America,” Sanders said. “Nothing that I said to you today is utopian; nothing is radical. Nothing that I have said does not exist in other countries, and nothing I have said to you today is not wanted and supported by the American people. …… the issue is whether or not we have the courage to take on the greed of the billionaire class, who want it all for themselves. That is what this campaign is about.” Referring to Canada’s single payer health care system which is much appreciated by Canadians, Sanders said “Courage, my friends; ’tis not too late to build a better world.”
Sanders is running a better campaign than Clinton, because he understands that liberals are motivated by hope; fear is a conservative thing. The caucuses favor true-believing ideologues with motivated followers. A win in Iowa, followed by a certain victory in New Hampshire, would give Sanders the credibility to pitch himself to Southern voters. The latest CNN Poll of Polls shows Sanders leading Clinton in Iowa, 46 percent to 44 percent.
For in-depth commentary, read: My Day With Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton: Two Iowa Rallies Explain Why Hillary May Be About to Blow a Sure Thing by Edward McClelland / Salon