Why Bernie Sanders resonates with working-class people

The too long didn’t read: Hillary Clinton needs to find a way to talk to people instead of talking at people before her campaign gets out of hand and unravels.

There’s a major difference right now between Bernie Saunders and Hillary Clinton in the way they develop campaign strategy in an effort to get their message across to voters.

On the surface, Hillary is engaged in listening tours with small gatherings of people that are hand-picked – while Bernie Sanders is focusing more on getting his message across to as many people as possible and as many ways as possible.

But that’s the obvious, when you dig a little deeper you can see that there are stark contrasts between these two campaigns and it’s clearly an indication that Hillary is running a corporate campaign, while Bernie is raising awareness through volunteer grassroots efforts.

Take for example the last two venues that both of these candidates attended.

When Hillary pulls up to an event, she’s usually in one of three black SUVs, surrounded with security two layers deep, a ton of paid staffers– including a media communications team of two and sometimes three people.

Clinton has her staff carted around in white panel passenger vans— always mindful to block access to journalists and reporters, keeping them just far enough away as to not disturb the seamless and coordinated efforts of her dedicated but sometimes overzealous staff.

Clinton’s staff knows every reporter who’s covering her.  They have a bio on just about everyone, including what they’re writing about her and how the different reporters are slanting their stories.

In a nutshell, if you aren’t saying nice things (or at least semi-nice things) about Hillary– you get pulled to the back of the pack and it’ll be a cold day in hell before you ever get access to her key people for soundbites and information.

At some level it has always worked this way, staffers have tried to distance their candidate away from the press during certain periods in campaigns.  But this is the first time I’ve ever seen such a coordinated attempt at controlled messaging especially so early on in the season.   Reporters that are covering Hillary are actually working with each other and sharing info just to get enough of a story together to print.

If you didn’t know any better you would think that Hillary is running her campaign as if she’s already won the primary.

The contrast –

When Bernie Sanders pulls up to an event, he’s not three deep in black SUV’s and he’s not dodging the media.  At least not yet anyway.

At best, he has three paid staffers that follow him around to events, along with a group of volunteers who at this point seem to be the hardest working people in politics.  They are not driving fancy cars or coming in white cargo vans – they’re showing up in economy cars and pickup trucks.

Reporters don’t have to worry about the message his people are trying to spin because from what I can see, they’re not trying to spin anything – all they’re doing is handing out the candidate’s prepared speech ahead of the event.  Reporters are even encouraged to to ask questions in real time.

Don’t get me wrong, Bernie Saunder’s people are running a professional campaign – but there is a big difference between the transparency of the Hillary campaign and that of Bernie Saunders.

So far, Sanders and his people were willing to talk to anybody and everybody about pretty much anything.   from where I come from that says a lot.

And, apparently it means a lot to the people who want to hear what Sanders has to say.  It’s not so much that he is drawing record crowds – but that after they listen to him,  the people walking away from his events seem to be more inclined to want to vote for him.  Another thing that seems strikingly different.

In the end, Bernie is talking to people – Hillary is talking at people.  Hillary will be able to maintain as long as she is willing to through money into her campaign and as long as she is able to control the message.  But at some point, money is not good enough.

Hillary Clinton needs to find a way to start talking to people – real people who are living paycheck to paycheck.  People with real concerns about the future and the direction this country is going in – and what the future holds for their children and grandchildren.


About George Fisher

George is a freelance writer, an author and a Democratic political consultant. He has worked as Deputy Communications Director for a Senatorial campaign and Campaign Manager for several NC House races and one congressional race. He previously worked as a news producer for a local television station.
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