Bernie Sanders recently spoke before 100,000 fans. 'That doesn't mean much,' says The Washington Post.

Bernie Sanders is drawing huge crowds. So what? asks The Washington Post
(Image credit: Charlie Leight/Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is drawing really big crowds to his presidential rallies — 28,000 in Portland, Oregon, on August 9; another 28,000 in Los Angeles a day later. In all, notes Philip Bump at The Washington Post, the Vermont independent and Democratic presidential candidate has drawn 104,000 to his events since July 1.

"So what does this mean?" Bump asked Wednesday. "I hate to say it — and I hate to rain on Sanders' well-attended parade — but: It doesn't mean a whole lot." At this point, Sanders is partly just the leading "Not Hillary Clinton" in what's essentially a two-person Democratic primary, Bump argues. He continues:

Let's say the Republican field more closely mirrored the Democrats. Imagine there were two Republicans running for president, Jeb Bush and Not Jeb Bush, where Not Jeb Bush did a better job appealing to the outer boundary of the party. Do you think that Not Jeb Bush couldn't roll up 20,000 people at a campaign stop in, say, Houston? [The Washington Post]

Sanders has the grassroots energy and newcomer enthusiasm, Bump concedes, but Clinton doesn't want to draw huge crowds just yet. "Could Clinton fill an arena in Los Angeles if she wanted to?" he asks. "Of course she could. Unquestionably.... If Sanders fills Cowboy Stadium or the home field for the Utah Utes, I'm happy to revisit the numbers." Read Bump's entire analysis at The Washington Post.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.