"Bernie is basically Bernie": the Impact of Sanders's Consistency

Oct 22, 2015

Bernie Sanders has surprised much of the political establishment with his rapid rise. One thing that shouldn’t surprise anyone is his core platform, says John Dillon, news director at Vermont Public Radio. Dillon has covered Sanders for more than 25 years and says the candidate has focused on economic inequality from his earliest campaigns.

“Even when he was running as a third party candidate for U.S. senator and governor in the state of Vermont back in the 70s, he talked about these issues that he’s talking about today.”

Dillon is part of the team at Vermont Public Radio that put together the audio documentary Becoming Bernie. He says the process of creating the doc reiterated Sanders’s consistency.

“We had tape going back to 1982, I swear you could listen to those interviews and think it was yesterday in Iowa. He has sounded the same themes for that long.”

Donna Hoffman, associate professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa, says that consistency is what makes his campaign so fascinating.

“Bernie is basically Bernie. […] Sanders has been surprised by his rise as well. It’s very interesting to watch him as a political phenomenon come outside, do retail politics in Iowa and other places and see how he responds to crowds and how crowds respond to him.”

On this Politics Day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dillon and Hoffman. Steffen Schmidt, professor of political science at Iowa State University, also joins the conversation.