Writings and observations

First take

Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has a lot of organizational work to do. Anyone who visited last night’s Portland stop (as we did) could see that. The outside lines were long, broken and chaotic. The inside crowd direction was no better. Masses of people milled this way and that. There were a number of places for signing up volunteers, but a lot of opportunities were missed. Still, this was a campaign only three months old, so it’s still coming together. And the impressive part was really impressive: 28,000 people, more than any inside venue available anywhere in Portland, so large that 9,000 had to settled for staying outside. It was the largest crowd yet to greet Sanders, who has had some large ones in his tour around the country (15,000 the day before in Seattle), and its enthusiasm could hardly be contained – nearly every line the candidate delivered was met with ferocious cheers. Sanders is not a great orator, and his speech was so-so as a political speech, missing opportunities and serving mostly as a recitation of fact and policy plan. But the audience needed no further ramping up. Sanders’ message touched a nerve. And it is likely to continue to do that. – rs

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