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Howard Dean was thrown off the national stage for being angry.But people like Trump he’s an asshole and says whatever he wants.” Kiley’s friend Dawn York, who runs a vintage-clothing shop, said, “Most candidates are robotic and rehearsed.” She saw “a real person in Bernie.”Sanders has been known as a democratic socialist for decades.Another was how many young people were turning out to see an irascible seventy-four-year-old senator from Vermont.But that’s a little like being surprised that some millennials appreciate Neil Young or Joni Mitchell at a time when it’s easy to find songs from different decades in a promiscuous jumble online.We were driving in, we saw these lines of people snaking down the sidewalk. Several of the friends praised Sanders’s pledge to raise the federal minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour.One member of the group, Erin Kiley, a millennial who owns Portland Flea-for-All, a marketplace of vintage and artisanal goods, said that she developed “a huge political crush on Bernie” in 2010, after Sanders delivered an eight-and-a-half-hour speech on the Senate floor to protest the extension of tax cuts instituted during the Presidency of George W. Sanders’s gruffness, didacticism, and indifference to appearances—both he and his wife, Jane, told me how much he loathes shopping—are central to his appeal.
He tends to sound both doleful and optimistic, like a doctor who has a grave diagnosis to deliver—and no time for small talk—but is convinced that he can help his patient heal.
All the friends described Sanders as “authentic,” a word that many people would be hesitant to apply to Hillary Clinton.
Kiley acknowledged that Sanders’s unvarnished qualities might turn off some voters, but noted that in the current election cycle “the whole spectrum of candidates is less schmoozy, polished, and warm.” She went on, “Everyone seems a little off the wall.
Sanders does not excel, however, at the middle ground of casual, friendly conversation. When talking to voters, Hillary Clinton has perfected the head-cocked semblance of keen interest; it’s clear when Sanders becomes bored.
Nelson told me, “Bernie’s the last person you’d want to be stuck on a desert island with.
Sanders’s popularity had clearly been exceeding his own expectations.