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Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paras Griffin/WireImage

The Bernie Sanders diehards packing his rallies would love to live in a world with Medicare for All, free college and higher taxes on the rich — but they mostly know that's a distant dream. Instead, they're fueled by the movement he's promising to build.

Why it matters: Sanders, on a delegate roll heading into today's 14-state Super Tuesday voting, is looking more and more like a liberal incarnation of Donald Trump circa 2016 — a cultural force who transcends party or policies.

  • His followers have extreme enthusiasm — and modest expectations.

We interviewed more than two dozen Sanders rally-goers over the past week in Virginia, which votes today, and in South Carolina.

  • Sanders' progressive platform might spook his critics. But for his base, it's mostly about finally having a champion for these progressive values in the White House — not about actually changing the laws right away.

What they're saying: "If he doesn't get it done, it's not because he won't try," said Colton Fagundes, a supporter who said he expects student loan forgiveness under a Sanders presidency.

  • "Obama gave so many olive branches," Fagundes complained.
  • Luke Waldrop, 23, said it's "really just about changing the zeitgeist and American politics."
  • "He's always toed the same line," said voter David Small. "The poor and disenfranchised will feel like they have a real advocate."

The big picture: Moderate Democrats including Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and former candidates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar have been arguing that Sanders wouldn't be able to accomplish much of what he's promising because even Democrats in Congress won't go along with him.

Sanders has been asked about his ability to compromise, and he's been lambasted by institutions including the New York Times editorial board over such concerns. But several supporters said an unwillingness to compromise — even if it means not getting something done — isn't a turnoff.

  • "We could have had a single-payer system in 2008, but we were too focused on compromising with Republicans — he's not going to do that," voter Joe Potischman said of Sanders.
  • "If he doesn't get things done, it's not because he didn't want to," said supporter Sofien Benslimane. "It's because someone stopped him."

Supporters do believe Sanders would have an easy time legalizing marijuana, creating protections for DACA recipients and eliminating student loan debt because he could circumvent Congress and use executive orders.

The bottom line: Many Sanders voters see Trump as having paved the way for a President Sanders.

  • Sanders supporter Jamal Jilao said, "I hope the time of being fearful of using executive orders has been laid to rest."

Go deeper:

Bernie Sanders' pipe dreams

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

U.S. releases report finding Saudi prince approved Khashoggi operation

Photo: Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released an unclassified report assessing that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) approved the operation to "capture or kill" Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Driving the news: The White House also announced sanctions on entities implicated in the murder, though not on MBS directly. Officials also announced a new "Khashoggi ban" under which individuals accused of harassing journalists or dissidents outside their borders can be barred from entering the U.S.

About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says

Joe Biden speaks during an event commemorating the 50 million COVID-19 vaccine shots. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Nearly 1 in 5 adults and nearly half of Americans 65 and older have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, White House senior adviser Andy Slavitt said on Friday.

The big picture: The Biden administration has previously said it has secured enough doses to vaccinate most of the American population by the end of July.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: Employers mull COVID vaccine requirements — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategyPfizer begins study on 3rd vaccine dose as booster shot against new strains.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.