Sanders can win Iowa and New Hampshire
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While Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersClinton backs Georgia governor hopeful on eve of primary The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Frenzy over Kennedy retirement rumors | Trump challenges DOJ Bernie Sanders announces Senate reelection bid MORE (I-Vt.) has again (for now) been put on the back burner of the major media, which are focused on the latest insults offered by Republican candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRed states find there’s no free pass on Medicaid changes from Trump Trump meets with Moon in crucial moment for Korea summit The Memo: Trump flirts with constitutional crisis MORE, he has a far better chance than most pundits realize of winning the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.

It is far too early to make any serious predictions about any primary or caucus battle in either party, but I will predict one thing with high confidence: Sanders will perform significantly better in early caucus and primary states than polls suggest or insiders believe.

The reason is that Sanders has two things that are pure gold in presidential politics. First, he has intensely devoted and idealistic supporters who are passionately committed to his cause and will turn out in droves on caucus and primary days. Second, he has powerful means of communications through social media, the Internet generally, and word of mouth among his devoted supporters that drive his message, his small-donor fundraising and his statewide organizations in ways that are not visible on political television and poorly understood by political pundits.

The truth is that, whatever her many virtues, Democratic rival Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton backs Georgia governor hopeful on eve of primary Pressure rising on GOP after Trump–DOJ fight’s latest turn Press: Why Trump should thank FBI MORE does suffer from an enthusiasm gap. This is one reason she has underperformed among small donors compared to Sanders and why she should be worried about her supporters not turning out in droves on caucus and primary days.

By contrast, there is close to a 100 percent relationship between citizens who passionately support Sanders and those who will turn out to vote for him. They care, they believe and they will vote in very large numbers because they, like Sanders, are fighting for a cause they believe in and a vision of an America they dream of building together.

Sanders will not get much time on television compared to the latest imbroglios surrounding Trump or Ben Carson, but he doesn't need that airtime because he communicates with his supporters and they communicate with each other in more powerful, profound and direct ways.

Will Bernie Sanders fire the political shot that will be heard around the world in Iowa and New Hampshire when the voting actually begins? It is much too early to tell, but it just might happen and it would be worth the price of admission to watch pundits try to figure out how it happened if it does!

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at