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Sen. Bernie Sanders leads polls, but can he attract enough moderates to win? Here's what he has to say

Sanders has a powerful base of loyal supporters, but he has struggled to attract moderates and independents who he will need to win.

MESQUITE, Texas — Bernie Sanders has made one thing clear this weekend: he is the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential race. 

The U.S. senator from Vermont leads polls in Nevada, which will vote Saturday, and also the latest one in Texas, which votes in just a little more than two weeks. 

The polls come after Sanders just left New Hampshire with a clear win, though his share of the vote was far less than he earned in 2016 when he ran against Hillary Clinton. 

“Well, in 2016 I ran against one person. In 2020, I ran against eight people. [It was] a little bit hard to get the same numbers,” Sanders told Inside Texas Politics on Friday during a one-on-one interview.

More than 5,300 attended his rally in Mesquite on Friday, which was the evening of Valentine’s Day. The campaign selected the city’s rodeo arena for the short-notice rally since other venues in Dallas were already booked. 

RELATED: Bernie Sanders: 'We’re going to win the state of Texas'

Sanders has a powerful base of loyal supporters, but he has struggled to attract moderates and independents who he will need to win, in part because Sanders describes himself as a Democratic Socialist. 

Sanders addressed that dilemma within his campaign during the interview. 

He was also asked whether Mike Bloomberg, who’s spending millions of dollars to be competitive come Super Tuesday, will threaten Sanders’ own campaign. 

“I think at the end of the day when Bloomberg’s record is analyzed, this is a guy who called for cuts to Social Security, opposed raising the minimum wage. And most importantly, I think at the end of the day, I think people understand that American democracy is not about a billionaire buying the election,” Sanders told Inside Texas Politics. 

RELATED: On the campaign bus with Mike Bloomberg in Dallas: Here's what he had to say

In 2012, as mayor of New York City, Bloomberg opposed raising the minimum wage there. But soon after declaring his candidacy last fall, Bloomberg became an advocate for a minimum wage of up to $15 per hour by 2025. 

At age 78, Sanders is impressive. He rallied supporters in Durham, North Carolina, then held another campaign event in Charlotte before boarding a flight to Dallas for a third appearance on Friday at Mesquite Arena. 

The senator then flew to Nevada for two campaign events on Saturday before another event in Carson City, Nevada, on Sunday.

On this week's episode of Y'all-itics: Texas group aims to increase voter turnout in Latino community, wake the "sleeping giant"

Last week, Sanders’ campaign announced that it will open five Texas campaign offices-- one each in Austin, Dallas, Houston, McAllen, and San Antonio. In addition, the campaign is spending more than $5 million dollars on an ad campaign across Texas and other Super Tuesday states. 

You can watch the entire interview with Sanders from Inside Texas Politics below. 

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