Jan 3, 2020

The dominant Democrat of the Trump era

Mike Allen, author of AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks Tuesday at Bernie's Big New Year's Bash, which drew 1,300 in Des Moines: Photo: Kelsey Kremer/The Des Moines Register via Reuters

Sen. Bernie Sanders' $35 million fourth-quarter fundraising, which easily tops 2020 Democrats, is a timely reminder that the socialist senator from Vermont is the single most consistently popular and viable Democrat of the past half-decade. 

Why it matters: The media rarely treats Sanders, 78, with the seriousness warranted by his sustained popularity and fundraising.

  • Like in 2016, Sanders has a legit shot to win the nomination — and an unshakable base to brace him. 

The data:

  • Since 2015, Sanders has raised more from small contributions (under $200) than any other Democrat, highlighting his grassroots support.
  • In both the 2016 and 2020 cycles, about 57% of his total fundraising came from small contributions. Joe Biden's share of fundraising from small contributions so far is only 35%.
  • Sanders' campaign says it took in 1.8 million donations during the fourth quarter — an average of $18.53.

The bottom line: Despite his age, and even after a heart attack and the insertion of stents this past fall, Sanders is surging again.

Between the lines: "His anti-establishment message hasn’t changed for 50 years, and it resonates with working-class voters and young people who agree the system is corrupt," the N.Y. Times wrote from Iowa last week.

  • "Sanders's revival has reshuffled the Democratic primary race, providing a counterweight to the shift toward centrism in recent months that has elevated Mayor Pete Buttigieg."

Go deeper: 2020 candidates' Q4 fundraising hauls

Go deeper

John Kelly defends James Mattis against Trump attacks

John Kelly in the White House in July 2017. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly defended James Mattis on Thursday after President Trump attacked the former defense secretary as "the world's most overrated general" and claimed on Twitter that he was fired.

What he's saying: “The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly told the Washington Post in an interview. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."

Barr claims "no correlation" between removing protesters and Trump's church photo op

Attorney General Bill Barr said at a press conference Thursday that there was "no correlation" between his decision to order police to forcibly remove protesters from Lafayette Park and President Trump's subsequent visit to St. John's Episcopal Church earlier this week.

Driving the news: Barr was asked to respond to comments from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said Tuesday that he "did not know a photo op was happening" and that he does everything he can to "try and stay out of situations that may appear political."

Updates: Cities move to end curfews for George Floyd protests

Text reading "Demilitarize the police" is projected on an army vehicle during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C.. early on Thursday. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Several cities are ending curfews after the protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people led to fewer arrests and less violence Wednesday night.

The latest: Los Angeles and Washington D.C. are the latest to end nightly curfews. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted Wednesday night that "peaceful protests can continue without a curfew, while San Francisco Mayor London Breed tweeted that the city's curfew would end at 5 a.m. Thursday.