One of the most unexpected developments of the current race for the presidency – from the initial exploratory committees to the dramatic formal announcements, through the primaries and debates, was the emergence of an obscure senator from New England as a campus hero that energized college students and drove them to the polls.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – the “Bern” of the “Feel the Bern” T-shirts, posters and bumper stickers, was an unlikely candidate from the start. Older than Trump or Clinton, the disheveled, curmudgeonly 74-year-old with the rumpled suit and wild white hair exhorted his fans from the podium in a trademark broad New York accent that made them believe he really could fight the Clinton machine all the way to the White House.

The huge, enthusiastic crowds Sanders drew so effortlessly at college campuses were the envy of Hillary, who spent the past year speaking at sparsely attended venues that had been cordoned off to hide the empty sections of seating in echoing halls.

In the end, of course, the Clintons were able to harness the power of their connections and money to land the nomination, even as Bernie supporters hoped for a last minute miracle at the convention.

But suddenly, Clinton is pulling in larger audiences – and younger ones, making some wonder if her historic candidacy as the first woman to be nominated for the top job by a major party is finally building some momentum.

Unfortunately for Clinton, the explanation for the recent crowds is nothing that encouraging and it simply has to do with the time of year.

Classes are now back in session in colleges around the country and political science professors are offering extra credit to students who attend Clinton speeches and rallies.

The authenticity of Sanders was always a stark contrast with Clinton – whose recently leaked emails reveal that her speeches provide her with indications as to when to pause and smile, and now with the revelation that her audiences are students attending only to bring up their grade, any sense that the Democrat candidate is the genuine choice of the young people is as phony as her smile.


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