Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Iran strike boosts Sanders' anti-war stature
Bernie Sanders' response to the Trump administration's strike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani generated far more attention than his 2020 Democratic rivals, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.
Why it matters: The numbers point to Sanders' elevated stature as an anti-interventionist voice in the race — one that has been sharpened nationally going back to his campaign against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Between the lines: The four biggest stories about Sanders and Iran were about the senator introducing legislation, along with Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), to block "Pentagon funding for any unilateral actions" taken by President Trump "to wage war against Iran without congressional authorization."
The big picture: Sanders' frequent criticisms of America's involvement in "endless wars" have boosted his case about the urgency of prioritizing domestic issues — and also served as an attack on his opponents for supporting the Iraq War, which became deeply unpopular.
- Sanders, who hammered Hillary Clinton in 2016 for voting to authorize the war in 2002, has also gone after Joe Biden for the vote.
- Among the stories that generated the most interactions about 2020 candidates and Iran was a piece from progressive magazine The Nation: "Bernie Sanders Is the Anti-War Candidate."
By the numbers: Of the 100 biggest stories about 2020 candidates and Iran since last Thursday, stories about Sanders generated 877k interactions on social media (likes, comments, shares).
- That's more than 200,000 more than Joe Biden, the next highest.
Our 2020 attention tracker is based on data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios as part of a project that will regularly update throughout the 2020 campaign.