Following a spirited performance in Tuesday’s Democratic debate in Detroit, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) announced raising $1 million from over 70,000 individual donors in just a single day.

The campaign announced Wednesday afternoon the single-day fundraising totals for an average donation of about $14 per donation, well in keeping with the Sanders campaign’s track record of doing exceptionally well pulling in small-dollar donations.

Small donations are an excellent way to gauge grassroots support, as donations show a committed belief in a campaign. It’s also true that small donations help reduce the influence of dark money on the political process. Though it’s true that not all small donations come from small donors, the Sanders campaign has shared before that the leading employers of their donors include Amazon, Walmart and the U.S. Postal Service.

The fact that a strong progressive economic message from Sanders and fellow progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) translates to small-donor support shows the popularity of these policy prescriptions with the American public. This was highlighted by Sanders’ fiery performance in the Tuesday debate.

Easily the standout moment for Sanders was a tense exchange with moderator Jake Tapper and others on stage about healthcare and, specifically, Medicare for All. As Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) insinuated that there was no way of knowing the form of coverage a Medicare for All plan would take — that the comprehensive plan to include optical and dental for all Americans Sanders described might not actually be in the cards — Sanders was curt.

I wrote the damn bill,” he clapped back.

The tense exchange continued with Sanders accusing Tapper and others of using Republican talking points to smear progressive healthcare policies, and he specifically singled out a perceived conflict on interest for CNN on the subject.

“”By the way, the healthcare industry will be advertising tonight on this program,” he said as Tapper cut him off. “They will be advertising tonight with [Tapper’s] talking point.”

These exchanges became one of the key moments of the night, and the Sanders campaign was quick to recognize the way his clap-backs resonated with audiences, launching “I Wrote the Damn Bill” merchandise following the debate.

(Featured image: CNN/Fair Use)


Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.

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