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The Lid: How Real is Sanders’ Revolution?

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Scientists have uncovered direct evidence of gravitational waves in space-time, literally solving one of the most perplexing mysteries of the universe. As for their next project, we can only assume they were immediately hired by establishment Republicans to help figure out how the heck to beat Donald Trump.

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‘16 from 30,000

So, we’re gonna guess that THIS will come up at tonight’s debate. In an interview with NBC’s Kasie Hunt, Bernie Sanders said that “presidential leadership” is about closing the “huge gap right now between Congress and the American people,” following up that he doesn’t believe President Barack Obama has been able to close that gap. “I think what we need, when I talk about a political revolution, is bringing millions and millions of people into the political process in a way that does not exist right now,” he said.

The comment prompted a pile-on from Clinton and many Obama supporters, who slammed Sanders for undermining the Democratic party’s standard-bearer.

Here’s one problem for Bernie Sanders, though: There’s absolutely no question that he’s built a formidable coalition that’s making him a real threat to the establishment. But if “revolution” by involving a massive amount of new people in the political process is the goal, the two nominating contests in the books aren’t slam-dunk advertisements for the plan so far. Democratic turnout in BOTH Iowa and New Hampshire was DOWN from 2008. New participants made up 44% of the electorate in this year’s Democratic contest in Iowa, down from 57% eight years ago. In New Hampshire, newcomers participated at about the same rate as in 2008.

Yes, he’s raising massive amounts of money from small donors, which is an important data point here too. And yes, we’re only talking about the first two states, and there’s a lot of politicking left to come. But we’ll have to see some more raw vote totals -- and an expansion of Sanders’ coalition in more diverse states -- to be convinced that his movement is surpassing the scale of what Obama put together eight years ago.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

FOR THE RECORD…

“He needs to start being more positive. And I don't know what he's thinking, I don't know, Does he realize the family legacy?”

-- John Kasich talking to reporters about Jeb Bush.

TOMORROW’S SKED

Hillary Clinton holds a townhall in Denmark, S.C. and then heads to St. Paul, Minn.

Donald Trump holds an evening rally in Tampa, Fla.

Bush, Carson, Cruz, and Rubio all attend the Faith and Family Forum in Greenville, SC.