On the Ground in Iowa

The Intercept’s D.C. Bureau Chief Ryan Grim reports from the Iowa caucuses.

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders hold signs during a campaign watch party event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Feb. 3, 2020. Photo: Elise Swain/The Intercept

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While the Iowa Democratic Party has thoroughly fumbled reporting official results of Monday’s caucuses, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign has released figures showing a significant lead. This week on Intercepted: The Intercept’s Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief Ryan Grim reports from the ground in Iowa and traces the rise of today’s progressive moment to Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign. Producers Jack D’Isidoro and Elise Swain speak with caucus-goers in Ottumwa, where meatpacking union workers in the state’s first satellite caucus emphatically supported Sanders. During a caucus at Drake University, Grim speaks with California Rep. Ro Khanna and Tommy Vietor of “Pod Save America” about Sanders and electability. At the Sanders campaign caucus party in Des Moines, Sanders gives a speech before election results are known, and Matt Christman of the podcast “Chapo Trap House” weighs in on this political moment. 

Jeremy Scahill: This is Intercepted.

[Music interlude.]

Ryan Grim: I’m Ryan Grim filling in for Jeremy Scahill and this is episode 115 of Intercepted.

Announcer: The next president of the United States of America, Senator Bernie Sanders.

[Crowd cheers.]

RG: To really understand what happened Monday night, let’s roll the tape back 30 or 40 years.

[Music interlude.]

Newscaster: President Carter told by his pollster Pat Caddell that it is all over, reportedly is preparing to concede defeat to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential election.

RG: The Democratic Party underwent an ideological transformation in the 1980s. Battered by the Reagan revolution, a new cadre of operatives rose calling themselves New Democrats arguing that the party needed to distance itself from what they called special interest groups. And by special interest groups, they met civil rights activists, environmentalists, feminists, gay rights activists, labor unions. What they needed instead was to move to the center and match Republicans dollar for dollar in corporate PAC fundraising and big money.

Bill Clinton: We know big government does not have all the answers. We know and we have worked to give the American people a smaller, less bureaucratic government in Washington. The era of big government is over.

RG: The same year Reagan was inaugurated Bernie Sanders ran and won his race for mayor of Burlington. In ’84 and again in 1988, the pushback against the New Democrats took the form of the presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson.

Jesse Jackson: I ask for your vote on the first ballot as a vote for a new direction for this party and this nation, a vote of conviction, a vote of conscience. 

RG: One of the only white elected officials to endorse and campaign for Jackson was Bernie Sanders. Here he is talking about it 1988 as Jackson surged to the top of the pack:

Bernie Sanders: Win, lose or draw, his candidacy will be remembered as the most significant presidential campaign in at least 50 years in this nation in attempting to bring working people and poor people and elderly people and people of all colors together to begin to stand up and fight for their rights and to fight for their dignity. Sometimes we lose the knowledge that history is being made when it’s being made in front of us. That is in fact what is happening right now.

RG: Sanders was an independent and he struggled with whether to participate in the Democratic primary at all.

BS: I am the only non-Democrat, non-Republican, independent progressive mayor in the United States of America. OK, it is awkward. I freely admit, it is awkward for me to walk into a Democratic Party caucus, believe me, it is awkward. I am not a Democrat. Period.

RG: Bernie argued that while some racist whites might indeed refuse to vote for Jackson, he had the possibility to expand the Democratic electorate.

BS: So while in fact, he may end up losing some conservative white votes, some racist white votes, I think there is a real chance that he could do what Mondale couldn’t do in a million years. That is to bring millions and millions of poor people and working people into the political arena who in the past never participated. That’s the interesting question.

RG: That was not only Jackson’s strategy, it was his counter argument to the New Democrats. We don’t need corporate money, he argued. We need people.

JJ: Reagan won the last time. Not by genius. Reagan won when we were asleep. He won by the margin of despair. He won by the margins of the fracture of our coalition. He won by the margin of racial division. He won by default.

RG: The Reverend then turned biblical and told the story of David and Goliath.

JJ: Our problem today is David, we need to organize Pennsylvania and win because we are going to stop the rocks that’s been lying around and pick them up. In 1980, Reagan won Massachusetts by 2,500 votes. There were over a hundred thousand students unregistered, over 50,000 blacks, over 50,000 Hispanics. He won by 2,500. Ted Kennedy’s state. Rocks just laying around.

RG: Jackson fell just short and Sanders went back to Vermont where he launched a bid for the House of Representatives. He lost a close race but came back again in 1990 and this time flipped a Republican seat. He headed to Washington, where he’d soon co-found the Congressional Progressive Caucus. 

BS: There are some of us in Congress who do not believe that the American people want to see fewer and fewer, wealthier and wealthier people dominate our political and economic lives. And we are saying that some of us have not forgotten the pain that is being experienced by working people and middle income people and poor people all over this country. Some of us are not bought and sold by corporate interests and big money interests. Some of us were elected to stand up and fight for those people who don’t have the power.

RG: Twenty years later, Jackson’s strategy has become Bernie’s. Here’s how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, his highest profile surrogate put it at a Sanders rally in Nevada:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The swing voter that we are most concerned with are the non-voters to voters. That swing voter is gonna win us this election and the general election.

BS: And what Alexandria said a few minutes ago is absolutely correct. There are a whole lot of folks out there who have given up. You know them, some of you are in this room, given up on the political process. My vote doesn’t mean anything. Politics is bullshit. They’re all liars. Why do I want to vote? 

What we need to do is participate in this campaign in a way that we have never done  before. We believe in bringing non-traditional voters into the political process, young people, working people. 

On caucus night, turn on the TV early and if the moderator tells you there’s a large voter turnout, we win. If they tell you if they tell you there’s a low voter turnout, we lose. It’s as simple as all that.

RG: And so we start our day at a union hall at Ottumwa, Iowa, population 25,000 on the banks of the Des Moines River, about an hour and a half from Des Moines, the city. There’s a special satellite caucus being held for meatpackers here. It’s a largely Ethiopian workforce and it’s happening at the UFCW’s local headquarters. The satellite caucuses arrange for workers or others who can’t make it to the regularly scheduled caucuses this evening and you had to register ahead of time to participate. Very few campaigns organized for these caucuses but the Sanders campaign did. Here are producers Jack D’Isidoro and Elise Swain from the scene.

Elise Swain: All right, so Jack, what are we doing right now?

Jack D’Isidoro: We’re outside the UFCW union hall in Ottumwa which voted 60 percent for Trump in 2016. Prior to that, voted Democratic in every election since 1976. So we’re gonna go inside and see what’s going on.

Frank Flanders: I’m Frank Flanders. I’m the chair of the precinct caucus. We’re going to break off into preference groups, and then they’ll fill out a presidential preference card. We will count those and determine what candidates have the 15 percent viability threshold. 

JD: So about half of the people who are at the caucus today who attended and participated were African immigrants. And I spoke to one man Tarik Nedari, who is a Moroccan immigrant, just became a citizen. This is the first time he’s participating in a democratic process.

Tarik Nedari: Born in Africa, Morocco, north of Africa. I moved here to the United States in 2015. I become a U.S. citizen like last year. I’m, like, making it official right now.

JD: Yeah, you voted for Bernie.

TN: Yes, sir.

Chris Laursen: My name is Chris Laursen. I’m the president of United Auto Workers Local 74. We organized the John Deere workers  here in Ottumwa. We primarily make hay equipment, for cutting it and harvesting it. You know Ottumwa has always been a manufacturing community. I think it’s one of the 31 counties that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and then turned towards Trump in 2016. And, you know, it’s just people that are sick of the government we have and a populist message sells. Some of them are full of crap like our current president, but you got somebody with the integrity and honesty that’s been doing the same thing for you know, four decades in Bernie Sanders and that’s what resonates with people. That’s why this isn’t just a presidential campaign. It’s a movement.

Phillip Cross: Phillip Cross.

ES: So was your mind made up as you were coming into the caucus today? 


PC: Pretty much, Local 230 pretty much decided that it was Bernie Sanders. So therefore.  

ES: So what do you like about Bernie Sanders? 

PC: I like a lot of his goals. You know, he believes in equal pay for whether you’re male or female. He believes that everybody deserves to be taken care of if they’re sick, being pretty much what everybody else really dreams about.

FF: Welcome to the satellite caucus. At this point, we will do the preference group alignment and allocation of delegates and what I’m going to ask you —

We had on the first alignment, 14 people stand for Bernie Sanders, one stand for Elizabeth Warren, and none for any other candidates. That locked in the 14 standing for Bernie and then the one standing for Elizabeth did not wish to realign. So, that gave 14 eligible out of the 15 for Bernie. So she did not have viability. And according to the formula that the state party uses that means that there were four delegates awarded to Bernie Sanders and none to the other candidates as a result of this satellite caucus.

JD: We’re on our way back to Des Moines where we’re going to Drake University. There’s going to be another caucus.

RG: Our next stop is Drake University for another satellite caucus later in the afternoon.

JD: We’re going to Drake?

RG: Want to?

JD: Let’s go to Drake. 

RG: Let’s do it. 

ES: Let’s go to Drake. 

Brad Hopkins: I hereby call this caucus to order.

RG: This is Drake University which is having a satellite caucus in its field house for workers and others who just can’t make it to the regularly scheduled one. 

JD: We’re in like a field house, astroturf, bleachers, there are hurdles, equally spaced apart on each hurdle there’s a little piece of paper taped onto it with the candidate’s name and everyone is lining up behind it. It looks like Warren is viable, maybe Pete, definitely Bernie.

[Nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen —]

BH: So, we do have to officially begin the first alignment period. I know many of you have already found your way to your preferred location, but we will have a five minute alignment period. If you happen to be —

RG: So we have three Yang supporters here. So, after the first round, who do you think you’ll realign to?

Sarah: Well, someone just brought up a good point that maybe, maybe some people will come over here if there’s unviables. But if not, I’m going to Warren.

Tom: For me, I’m not too sure yet, but I’m kind of leaning towards Bernie after this. 

Kaylor: Well, initially, I was going to realign to Klobuchar but given that there’s one person there, that might not happen now. So I might go to Biden or Pete, Biden or Pete.

[Line captains, count up —]

RG: Buttigieg has eight. So, if they can pick up the Biden guy, if they can talk the Yang person who likes Biden into doing Pete instead, and also offer pie and cookies to the Klobuchar guy which he said he’s bribable with pie, then that would give them 11 and that would hit them, that would hit the threshold. But he’s a Biden guy. He’s not a Buttigieg guy, so they’d have to work him pretty hard.

[Chants of Bernie beats Trump! Bernie beats Trump! Bernie beats Trump! Bernie beats Trump!]

RG: It’s extremely important for the Sanders people to be able to draw people on the second round, not just to increase their own numbers, but to keep the other candidates from becoming viable. If they can win a bunch of the realignments on the second round, then Pete can’t reach the threshold of viability.

BH: Two groups that are viable after the first alignment: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

[Crowd cheers.]

[Chants of come on over! Come on over! Come on over]! 

Tom Gilsenan: So, Klobuchar was my first choice so I started thinking OK, who would be my second choices? And here we are.

Caucus-goer: — Has a track record of standing behind bold progressive policies even when they weren’t popular, or politically expedient. You can trust that what we say we’re going to follow through with. I mean every candidate —

Caucus-goer: Would you like to come with us?

Caucus-goer: I’d like to come with Warren.

Caucus-goer: Yeah, let’s go. 

RG: Warren got the remaining Yang gang supporter. 

JD: So right there, Yang’s remaining supporters just got eaten up by the other, other campaigns and literally just getting in their faces and pitching them why they should join or change sides. So, now they’re realigning.

BH: That is the end of the realignment period. Please get into lines of 10 again, so that we can recount you. 

RG: Bernie picked up some Pete fans, and so that’s what’s so important about keeping people under viability is that you’re then they have to go somewhere. And when they see the momentum, like if you look in this room, you could just visualize it. You can see it like there’s a little bit of energy over there and then over here you’ve got double it. And so if you’re not sure about who you’re gonna vote for, and you like them both you’re like, you know what, let’s ride with Bernie.

BH: As I stated, this caucus is electing seven delegates. Bernie Sanders is awarded five delegates and Elizabeth Warren is awarded two delegates.

RG: Five delegates for Sanders, two for Warren, so he nets three. That’s actually less than he pulled out of the meatpacker caucus earlier today where there were only 14 people. 

JD: Can you say who we’re with real quick?

RG: Ro Khanna, one of the first members of Congress, the first to endorse Bernie Sanders or co-chair of his campaign. What I’m curious about is privately don’t tell us who, but like, what are you hearing from your colleagues? You know, in the beginning, people are like, oh, that’s cute that Bernie Sanders is running again. Of course, it’s his right. You know, he can have one last little hurrah and he’ll be done by this summer. You jumped in, you’re like, no, I’m all in here. What are people saying to you now? What are your colleagues and friends saying to you now?

Rep. Ro Khanna: More people come up to me on the floor and otherwise and say, wow, he’s running a great campaign. Wow, he may take this. I think they’re taking him a lot more seriously. In the beginning, there was sort of Bernie’s gonna do his thing. No one thought he was going to be the nominee. People thought it was more a campaign that wasn’t gonna actually end up even in the top three. So, he’s just defied the odds. And now people are realizing that he has a very, very good shot at the nomination. My argument to them is look at who people want. Look at who the young folks want. Look who’s getting the crowds. Ultimately, it’s a democracy. 

RG: Are people starting to believe that he can be Trump? Or are they still like, well, it looks like he can win the nomination but then we’re screwed.

Rep. RK: See, I think that the people who are looking at —

RG: And when I say people, I mean members of Congress, apologies to regular people.

Rep. RK: The ones who are doing all the punditry, oh, what do we need to do in this district and that district? They’re still in the mindset of can he win? The ones who are just looking at the basic facts that everyone else is seeing, 3,000 people showing up at his rallies, a huge army of volunteers online, someone who’s really mobilizing people across this country. There, they get that Bernie can win. I mean, ultimately, politics is about movements and inspiring people and Bernie Sanders has done that.

Tommy Vietor: I’m Tommy Vietor. I’m a neolib shill. What I’m hoping for is you know, a little less than what’s possible, you know, that’s sort of my life’s ambition. Please don’t use that. [Laughing.] 

I like Bernie Sanders a lot. And like, my great regret from 2016 was I allowed myself to freak out about electability analysis that was, I probably should have known was bullshit and speculative to begin with. And so when you just step back and like, look at all the things he’s done even since 2016, like I care a lot about foreign policy, I find those, that set of issues interesting. I think the things he’s done in Yemen, how vocal he was against war in Iran, like, that’s what I want to hear out of my candidates. So that makes me excited about Bernie. So, we’ll see. I mean, I also really like Elizabeth Warren. I like really like Joe Biden, so I just have been trying to watch and see what’s going to happen. I’m petrified about the general election, no matter who wins, but it’s our job just to work hard.

[Music interlude.]

JD: All right now we’re at the third caucus location. So this is the real deal. This is, it’s almost seven o’clock. 

RG: This is King Elementary School, somewhere in Des Moines kind of working class neighborhood. And this is the, these are the actual caucuses. The other ones count but those are for people who can’t make it to the seven o’clock evening ones, there will be more than 1,000 of these around the state. And at each one of them, you have the same viability threshold. So just because you’re non-viable in one precinct doesn’t mean you’re non-viable in the other. This one actually has two precincts kind of next to each other. In the same gymnasium, there’ll be two going on, which will be extra confusing because you can’t, you know, you can’t move from one precinct to another. 

JD: Oh, so side by side, there’ll be two of the same thing happening?

RG: Right. So you could have like, some non-viable Buttigieg people looking longingly over at the other precinct, knowing that they could add to their brethren — should we go this way — add to their brethren’s numbers, but you can’t go from one precinct to another. So, they would just have to sit there and suffer.

JD: So, we’re like in the lobby of an elementary school. This is a very kind of familiar experience for a lot of Americans when they vote, right? 

RG: Right, yeah.

JD: It’s like the local school.

RG: What’s your name? 

Mirrea Lopez: Mirrea Lopez.

RG: Who are you gonna go in and caucus for?

ML: Bernie.

RG: How come?

ML: Because I like his ideas. I feel like he’s heading in the direction that I personally believe he should head in like a candidate, he has ideals that I do.

Bobby Young: I’m Pastor Bobby Young.

RG: Who are you gonna caucus for when you go in there?

BY: Whoever basically has visited me in my neighborhood. 

RG: Who’s that been? 

BY: Well, let’s see, Bernie visited me and that’s about it really. So you know, you don’t come to my neighborhood and ask for my vote, I generally don’t vote for you. But what I like about Bernie over the years, he got the same message. He’s just like a record. He don’t change. 

RG: You think Bernie can beat Trump?

BY: I believe he can. I really believe he can. You know, don’t count us old guys out. We still got a little fire in the furnace.

RG: How do you think he’s gonna do in your neighborhood?

BY: I think he would do well because he visits the neighborhood and that’s more than I can say about most of the candidates.

Gerald Hill: My name is Gerald Hill. 

RG: How long have you lived in Iowa or Des Moines?

GH: In Des Moines, since 1988. 

RG: Have you caucused every time? 

GH: Yes.

RG: You know who you’re going to caucus for this time or are you going to make up your mind when you go in there? 

GH: I’m going to make up my mind when I get in there. There’s two that I’m trying to decide between. It would be Steyer and then Biden. 

RG: What do you like about Steyer? 

GH: He was right there from the very beginning, investing of his own self and making a statement against what everybody else saw, but nobody said anything about. So I feel like I owe that to him for coming out at the very beginning before even announcing his campaign. He was invested in —

RG: Impeaching or climate change, which was the more important?

GH: It was more impeaching.

RG: What do you think about Bernie, Warren, some of the others?

GH: Not Warren. Bernie, yeah. I mean, here’s the truth, whoever gets the nomination, gets my vote.

Announcer: If somebody gets into precinct 36 and they realize they’re supposed to be in precinct 37, well, let them go over there and vice versa. But please make sure you’re in the right line. 

JD: So, now we’re in the gym where the caucus is actually happening. 

ES: This is it?

JD: This is it. 

RG: So, here’s something interesting and don’t hold me precisely to these numbers but you can look them up for yourself. If you look at the 2008 primary, though, you know, the last time there was a competitive one, you know, Obama basically versus Clinton and Edwards, there were about 340, 350,000 caucus-goers. If you look at 2016, you’re talking about 280,000 or so. So, that means there are about 16,000 missing caucus goers out there who looked at the choice of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in 2016 and decided not to come out for them. And so that’s something that all of the campaigns have noticed and are looking at like, who,  if those people come back out, who are they for? And there was a lot of speculation that those kinds of people actually come out for Biden which is why some people in the Bernie campaign are saying yes, we want to expand the electorate, but we want to expand a certain portion of the electorate which is the ones they’re going to come out and vote for Bernie Sanders, not the ones that had a chance to vote for Sanders in 2016 and took a pass. And so you are going to be seeing on Monday evening, I think some people who just didn’t like Hillary and didn’t like Bernie in 2016, didn’t come out and now they’re probably for somebody like Biden. 

JD: Well, also part of it was this is before Trump. So like, that’s a huge motivator. 

RG: Yes and there’s definitely that.

Jason Zilk: I hereby call this caucus to order. My name is Jason Zilk. I’m the temporary chair for this precinct. 

RG: Here’s the important context: in 2016, this working class district went five to three for Hillary Clinton. So here we are now four years later and it looks like Bernie will get at least five, maybe six delegates out of here, which is remarkable because there’s so many more candidates participating this time that he has dramatically increased his support here. So, neither Warren nor Buttigieg are viable as of now, and so they are looking to team up.

But now, but then, they’re gonna have to argue well, do we team up for Pete or do we team up for Warren? And it looks like Warren is in the driver’s seat because she has more delegates, you know, more people here. So it’s, people will come to them. If they’re still not viable. Then they said they would go to Bernie.

[People chanting Biden and Bernie over each other.]

JZ: Is there anyone in the room that has not found their caucus group? 

[Twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one — Is Bernie’s group satisfied with the count that we just did, sixty-nine?]

JD: So that was the Bernie people caucusing being counted. Biden and Bernie are the only ones that are viable?

RG: Currently, only Biden and Bernie. So, now Warren folks have to persuade some Pete folks to come join them. 

[Crowd cheering Warren.]

RG: A little bit over 50 percent for Bernie Sanders, 25 percent for Joe Biden, 15 percent for Elizabeth Warren and nobody else scores any points. 

JD: So basically a bunch of these just happened across the state and now we just wait. 

RG: It’s a varied state. You’re going to have places where Bernie’s not viable in rich districts. You’re going to have places like this where Buttigieg isn’t viable. You’re going to have places where Bernie runs it up 95%. You’re going to have — it’s like, because it’s so broken down along the various lines, it really depends on you. You have to wait for all the precincts. I don’t think you can look early and start making forecasts.

[Music interlude.]

RG: All right, now we’re at the Holiday Inn next to the airport. Outside is the “Not me, us” bus and so you know it’s the Bernie Sanders election night watch party. Everything seems to be in a holding pattern because the Iowa Democratic Party against everybody’s advice decided to buy some app that all the precinct chairs would use to upload their results, which people argued would be easy to hack, and would also be more than likely to crash because that’s what apps do. 

And so the party is not releasing returns which every minute that goes by is just increasing the skepticism of the party because everyone is expecting that Bernie Sanders is going to win this caucus and now all of a sudden the party has technical difficulties. Now, I believe they are legitimate technical difficulties because they were stupid enough to go out and get an app and when local Democratic party gets an app, it’s not gonna work. That’s how these things work. But it certainly isn’t doing anything to produce confidence in the party. 

Ari Rabin-Havt: A lot of you have asked about it, because you know, we had an app for our own precinct captains. So we will have numbers within 10 minutes or so.

Reporter: Does the party know you’re doing this? 

AR-H: No, but we’ve decided in the nature of transparency. We’ve had a candidate declare whatever, but we decided in the interest of transparency for this since we have these numbers, these are the numbers we have. We will release the results that we have. So, 10 minutes. 

Matt Christman: Hi, my name is Matt Christman. I’m co-host of Chapo Trap House Podcast. The Iowa Democratic Party was basically ready, willing to set themselves on fire tonight. They were willing to destroy the credibility of their institution, the credibility of the Iowa caucus which they guard jealously like Smaug and his fucking gold hoard. And they were willing to burn it up rather than to give Bernie a fucking victory. And it’s like, OK, fine, but I don’t think it’s — It’s a rearguard action is what we’re seeing. And that is the thing that makes me feel good is it’s nauseating to watch these worms do this. But it’s also like this is all they can do, literally burn down their own house. They have no even offensive agenda. They can really just do these, delaying actions. And it really does feel more and more like they’re trying to just to delay the inevitable.

RG: Which is similar to 2016 and Trump.

MC: Exactly. 

RG: So, what about Bloomberg? 

MC: [Laughs.] I mean, Bloomberg is getting these hilariously big numbers in, you know, national polls now because you’re literally talking to people who have thought about this election maybe three times. And then when they’re getting that phone call, they’re literally watching Mike Bloomberg on television when they’re answering the questions. That is literally just like, those are the late breaking, non-ideological voters who go with who looks like who’s going to be the nominee and that would be Bernie. 

RG: And so we were talking earlier to the Pod Save bros at the Drake University thing. The Pod Save bros, they’re ready for Bernie.

MC: Oh, no, no, those guys are, they are, they’re cheerleaders to the Democratic Party. You know, they might have preferences, but at the end of the day, that’s their job. So they don’t have an institutional investment at this point in the actual facade. So yeah. Most likely scenarios, Bernie wins, gets coronated, you know, and is the first ballot winner due to the votes in all of these primaries and caucuses. Second highest scenario is a brokered convention. I don’t see, I don’t see any of these other people getting enough delegates to win on a first ballot.

RG: Certainly not Elizabeth Warren, not Pete Buttigieg, not Joe Biden and not Bloomberg and there’s nobody else.

MC: Bloomberg, Bloomberg is not, the states the Bloomberg is on the ballots in, Bernie’s already gonna be a winner by then. It just, his rationale right there he’s a placeholder for people who haven’t really thought about it. And they’re going to be confronted with an electorate that is, or a race that’s much more solidified with a real front runner and those are the kind of people who, they like to wait and then they’re like, “Who’s gonna win? Who do I feel comfortable can beat the guy I hate? It’s this guy. Everyone else seems to like him. Good enough for me,” and that’s gonna happen, I think. 

RG: Yeah.

MC: Inshallah. 

Announcer: The next president of the United States of America, Senator Bernie Sanders.

[Crowd cheers.]

BS: And when those results are announced, I have a good feeling we’re going to be doing very, very well. Brothers and sisters, yes, together we will defeat Donald Trump. But we’re going to do more than that. Our message to Wall Street and the insurance companies and the drug companies and the fossil fuel industry and the military industrial complex and the prison industrial complex, our message to them is: Change is coming. 

[Crowd chanting “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”]

BS: Together with the strongest grassroots movement this country has ever seen. And now, it is on to New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, California, and onwards to victory. Thank you all very much!

RG: I mean, here’s the thing, in order to win the Democratic nomination, you have to have some substantial support from voters of color. And there are only two candidates left in the race who have that — and that’s Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Joe Biden just finished fourth. He’s fading hard. Michael Bloomberg is not going to be able to come in and seriously produce that kind of support. Elizabeth Warren doesn’t have it. Pete Buttigieg doesn’t have it. The establishment is going to throw up everything they can think up against the wall. But as we saw in 2016 with Trump you know nothing’s stuck. They’re not well-organized enough to, you know, combat somebody who has actual momentum. You almost have to feel bad for the establishment in this pivotal battle for control of the party, the soldier that they could marshal onto the field was Joe Biden. Like what a decrepit state of affairs for what passes for an establishment.

[Music interlude.]

RG: And that does it for this week’s show. You can follow us on Twitter @Intercepted as well as on Instagram @interceptedpodcast. If you like what we do, you can support our show by going to theintercept.com/join to become a sustaining member. Intercepted is a production of First Look Media and The Intercept. Our lead producer is Jack D’Isidoro, our producer is Laura Flynn. Elise Swain is our associate producer and graphic designer. Betsy Reed is editor in chief of The Intercept. Rick Kwan mixed the show. Transcription for this program is done by Nuria Marquez Martinez. Our music, as always, was composed by DJ Spooky. Jeremy Scahill will be back next week, don’t worry. I’m Ryan Grim. Thanks for listening. 

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