Bernie Sanders' Day in West Virginia Reflects His Campaign in a Nutshell

The senator continues to shine a light on struggling communities like these.

In many ways, the day was Sanders’ campaign in a nutshell. Here’s why:

Yet those in the room seemed to love him. They liked his anger, his outrage at the injustices they face. He spoke in simple terms.

“Everything is related to everybody else,” he said. “You are not going to get a handle on the crime problem, unless you get a handle on the drug problem. You’re not going to get a handle on the problem, unless we get to some economic issues and deal with the despair and hopelessness that a lot of people are feeling.”

Struggling Americans Never Far Away

With boarded-up houses, broken windows, abandoned schools, closed coal mines and, maybe most shocking of all, only pieces of a functioning sewage system, towns here in McDowell County, like Kimball, are clearly hurting. It’s no surprise, then, that Sanders, with the mantle he now enjoys, continues to shine a light whenever he can.

In McDowell County, with about 20,000 residents, 20.7 percent of households earn less than $10,000 a year, according to U.S. Census data. More than 52 percent make less than $25,000 a year. What’s more, less than 5 percent of residents have a college degree.

Sanders’ own path to White House may be mostly closed, but the senator does have a point: there’s a lot of work to do for whoever gets there.

In joining the race, and now staying in the race, Sanders has pushed the conversation and helped expose the extent to which many Americans are struggling.

'Anybody Here Been to Dinner Lately for $350,000 a Couple?'

Sanders managed to keep his morning event mostly apolitical, as he said he would. His only reference to Clinton was a veiled one, but it notably focused on the singular issue most important to him, which he says affects everything else, which he will likely continue to talk about in connection to her campaign: campaign finance.

Then, Sanders drove over two hours to an afternoon rally in the middle of the state, where he delivered his usual stump speech, again making mention of Clinton.

The senator may be trailing Clinton by over 800 delegates, but one more fact lingers: He still draws impressive crowds. In Morgantown, West Virginia, population 30,000, where he capped his day, for instance, nearly 3,200 came out to hear him speak.