Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who is running for president opposite Democrat Hillary Clinton, said Wednesday the sizable crowds he's seen on the campaign trail could turn into votes for him next year.
"I surely, absolutely think that they can," Sanders said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"Look, what exists in the real world — whether it's Denver or Minneapolis or New Hampshire or Iowa or Vermont — is very different from the kind of discussions that take place here in Washington, where so much of what Congress does is dominated by big money."
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Sanders, a self-described socialist
, joined the race for the White House at the end of April, two weeks after Clinton announced her candidacy. Since Sanders' arrival into the fray, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee have also joined the race for the Democrat nomination.
Sanders has touted himself as an everyday American, someone who would fight for the lower and middle classes.
"Look, the average American understands the middle class is disappearing, that 99 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent, and that we need fundamental changes in economics and politics so the government begins working for all of us and not just the billionaire class," Sanders said.
Sanders, who became a Vermont senator in 2007, told MSNBC he has "taken on every element of the big-money interest in this country, whether it is Wall Street, whether it is the pharmaceutical industry, whether it is the military industrial complex."
Sanders has made headlines about his past marijuana use
and a bizarre essay he wrote in 1972 that said women fantasize about rape
Sanders is making up ground on Clinton
, who has been the clear front-runner on the left for months, in New Hampshire.
Veteran GOP political consultant Mary Matalin told Newsmax TV
this week he thinks Sanders could prove to be a worthy opponent to Clinton as the presidential race heats up.
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