One day, Sanders appeared at my window rather excited to get something that had been spat out by my printer. Maybe it was polling or some other data. I can't recall the content, but do remember the message was so important that Sanders couldn't wait to review the material and had to splay the accordion-folded pages on my desk to devour the information. This was no quixotic quest. It was a real political campaign focused on data and intent on winning an election, not simply providing Sanders with a platform.
By the eve of the Iowa caucuses, the Sanders campaign received more than 3,000,000 contributions from more than 1,000,000 individual donors -- more than any other presidential candidate ever. The records for engagement, the statistical tie in Iowa Caucuses, and the win in the New Hampshire primary demonstrate that while technology has changed dramatically since Professor Sanders used my desk to review campaign data, this race is similarly focused on winning.
I had a chance to reconnect with my former college instructor before he hit the presidential campaign trail.
"Professor Sanders," I greeted him. "It's been a few years and a few more gray hairs for both of us, but you look great."
He gave me a close look, but showed no sign of any recognition. Sanders only taught two courses in 1990, but there was no reason to believe that my face would stand out 25 years later.
"I hope I gave you a good grade," he offered, as he moved to meet the next well wisher.
"You gave me an 'A,'" I responded. "Now you give 'em hell!"
I doubt I'll have another opportunity to get close to him, but I'm helping his campaign a little and pulling for him a lot. I learned much from Professor Sanders. I learned that for government to work best, policies must make sense for real people and I learned that for politics to make sense, elections must be about making real change not just offering positions.
Thank you, Professor Sanders, for teaching me that people always come first, and for sharing that vision with the country through your campaign.
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