Still think we shouldnā€™t take Bernie Sandersā€™ presidential campaign seriously because he lacks big money donors? Guess what? Within 24 hours of Sandersā€™ announcement, the Democratic Socialist senator from Vermont raised a whopping $1.5 million in small donations.

A Tweet fromĀ writerĀ Zaid JilaniĀ also points out another amazing fact: Sanders raisedĀ wayĀ more thanĀ GOP front-runners Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz raised inĀ theirĀ first 24 hours.Ā Rand PaulĀ andĀ Marco RubioĀ each landed $1.25 million andĀ Ted CruzĀ a mere $1 million.

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In the first 24 hours, @SenSandersĀ outraised Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul.
ā€” Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani)Ā May 1, 2015

See what we can do when we all work together? Sandersā€™ $1.5 million is encouraging news for those of usĀ who feel crushed by the weight of big money in politics and fearĀ our voices willĀ never be heard. On Friday, Sanders posted this message on his Facebook page:

A successful national campaign will require the active participation of millions of Americans in every community in our country. With your help, we are off to a great start. Share this image and show your support!

Image:Ā Facebook.

In less than 24 hours, over 100,000 peopleĀ signedĀ up to help with Sandersā€™ campaign and 35,000 people donated. Although the average contribution was a mere $43.00. And these numbers only reflect donations and sign-ups through Sandersā€™Ā website, not whatā€™s coming via snail mail.

And in case you think ā€” as many people do ā€” that Sanders is just running to push Hillary Clinton further to the left, he alsoĀ let his Facebook followers know heā€™s dead serious.

I am running for President of the United States because America needs a political revolution. We need a government which represents all of us, and not just a handful of billionaires. In this campaign we wonā€™t have the support of the big-money interests, Wall Street or the military-industrial complex. Thatā€™s why I need you to join me in an unprecedented grass-roots effort. Sign up at my new website

Image: Facebook.

THOM HARTMANN: DONā€™T UNDERESTIMATE SANDERS.

On Thursday, radio hostĀ Thom HartmannĀ couldnā€™t help but notice how little media coverageĀ Sandersā€™ announcement got compared to Paulā€™s, Rubioā€™s, Cruzā€™s and, of course, Hillary Clintonā€™s. He also suspects he knows the reason why:Ā ā€œIn my opinion [itā€™s] because the owners of those networks donā€™t like his message.ā€

Hartmann adds that Sandersā€™ anti-TPP stanceĀ will ā€œprobably get him locked out,ā€ as their parent companies have a huge stakeĀ in free trade agreements. Nor do the wealthy owners of these companies want net neutrality or to pay more in taxes.Ā But Hartmann warns listeners not to underestimate Sanders ā€” this is not the first time pundits have dismissed him as a long-shot candidate.

ā€œDo not underestimate Bernie Sanders and do not think that he is making this run to impact Hillary Clinton.ā€

Hartmann argues that Sanders isnā€™t as out-there as the media would have us believe. In fact, Sanders stands with the majority of Americans on policies theĀ GOP candidates flat-out oppose and some of which Clinton has not yet commented on.Ā A surprisingĀ poll taken by GBA StrategiesĀ for the Progressive Change Institute, with 1500 likely Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters reveals the following:

  • 79 percent want the U.S. government to be able to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare and Medicaid.
  • 77 percent support free universal Pre-K for all children.
  • 78 percent want the same low interest rates for student loans as for big banks.
  • 75 percent oppose ā€œfree tradeā€ agreements like TPP and want protections for U.S. workers.
  • 74 percent wouldĀ end tax loopholes for corporations that send jobs overseas.
  • 73 percent want to end the practice of gerrymandering.
  • 71 percent support Obamaā€™s proposed $400 billion program for fixing our infrastructure and creating jobs.
  • 71 percent want big corporations to disclose how much they spend on politics and lobying.
  • 71 percent support a public option (Medicare) for health insurance.
  • 70 percent would expand Social Security programs.
  • 64 percent of Americans want a full minimum wage for tipped workers.
  • 61 percent support net neutrality.
  • 61 percent would require a special prosecutor to investigate all killings by police.
  • 59 percent (!) support ensuring that all Americans have aĀ minimum guaranteed income.

Watch Hartmannā€™s video with full coverage of Sandersā€™ official announcement that heā€™s running in 2016 from CSPAN, along with his always entertaining and informative commentary:

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