Takeaways from the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

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Takeaways from the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

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DES MOINES — From the yells of “we want, we want Bernie” to chants of “O’Malley to screams of “I’m with her,” the three major Democratic candidates spoke to Iowa Democrats on the evening of Oct. 24.

More than 6,600 attendees were at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Hy-Vee Hall at the Iowa Event Center in Des Moines.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat among Iowa’s top Democrats and spoke to hundreds of supporters and voters from across the state.

After starting an hour late, the nearly three-hour event highlighted the state of Iowa Democrats. Here are some takeaways from the Dinner.

Definitely a two-person race — at least in Iowa

Yes, there were three candidates at the Dinner. But there was a clear divide on the top candidates for Iowans. Sanders’ supporters filled the bleachers, most with signs talking about Sanders’ “revolution” (the political one, you know) others with handmade signs (there was even a B-E-R-N-I-E sign made that was lit up with light bulbs). Across the hall, Clinton supporters held Hillary for Iowa signs and matching signs. Every supporter was given a giant, blue, wiggly glowstick. O’Malley’s campaign, on the other hand, did not even fill up its section, even with the event starting an hour late. Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee, former Democratic presidential candidates, both suspended their campaigns this past week. Both candidates had been polling at 1 percent or below. O’Malley is currently polls at 2 percent in Iowa, according to the latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll. Will this grim experience persuade O’Malley to suspend his presidential campaign?

Throwing shade at Clinton

For much of the first months of Sanders’ campaign, he did not want to talk about any other candidate. He only answered serious questions, those that asked about his policies and plans. On Oct. 24, however, Sanders was quick to call out Clinton, even with not mentioning her name. From talking about the Iraq War — which Clinton voted to approve and Sanders voted against it in the Senate — to talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement Sanders said he didn’t agree with from Day 1, unlike another candidate who said it was a “gold standard.” (Hint, hint, Clinton said that in 2012. Since then, she has come out against the agreement.) Sanders took the evening as an opportunity to show how he has had a consistent track record.

Sanders supporters only ‘feel the Bern’

By the time Clinton finished speaking, more than two-thirds of Sanders supporters had ducked out. Sanders had nonstop energy before and during his speech. After being introduced by Iowa Democratic Party head Andy McGuire, walked into a crowd of supporters, with each of them trying to at least shake his hand. That being said, Sanders’ supporters are obviously energized. During both O’Malley’s and Clinton’s speeches, there were hardly any applause or murmurs of approval. The probability of Sanders’ supporters being swayed is slim.

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