A few miles down the road from here, due west on 101, is the town of Brattleboro, Vermont. The architecture is a landscape of long brick, blocks and blocks of old mill buildings, a throwback to the days when the textile industry dominated this little corner of the country before the chance to find cheap labor elsewhere motivated a migration. The passing of that industry devastated many local economies for a very long time, and laid waste to many families, businesses and towns, another verse in the scripture of corporate greed.
In Brattleboro, Sen. Bernie Sanders is a household name. The same goes for Burlington, where Sanders served as mayor for four terms in the 1980s, a tenure that catapulted him into the House of Representatives in 1988. He was re-elected to that office by landslide margins until 2006, when Vermont’s Sen. Jim Jeffords announced his retirement. Sanders ran for the seat, and won it handily by about a 2-1 margin. When he ran for re-election in 2012, Senator Sanders won with 71 percent of the vote.
He went back to Burlington to announce his intention to campaign for the Democratic nomination for President at the end of this past May. Five thousand people attended. He pulled in three thousand people in Minnesota, and enjoyed a large crowd when he recently came through Keene, New Hampshire.
When he came through Iowa, he drew the largest crowds of any candidate, regardless of party, so far this year. According to a report on the visit in The New York Times, a Democratic county chairman named Kurt Meyer fired off a text to Hillary Clinton’s Iowa political director. “Objects in your mirror,” he wrote, “are closer than they appear.”