By most accounts, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has been on the rise since he threw his hat into the presidential race, but no place better illustrates his growing following than Reddit, a popular social news site, where the Democratic candidate's campaign has galvanized a considerable support network.
Among the candidates, Sanders of Vermont holds one of the most substantial grassroots followings on Reddit, which is a user-driven site composed of various forums. More than 80 subreddits, or threads, are devoted to his campaign, reported Policy Mic.
One of the largest -- SandersForPresident -- has amassed more than 98,000 subscribers that share and engage in the latest information about his candidacy. Vermont native Aidan King, 23, started the subreddit two years ago and actively moderates the community.
For the most part, the hostile rhetoric that political message forums often attract is absent from the subreddit. Rapport is reminsicent of giddy college Democrats, with members passing out buttons on campus. "For me, the best feeling was when I saw a bumper sticker that my local Bernie group had given out!" writes one Michigan "Bernie Squad cadet" in the subreddit.
While Sanders' team does not pull the strings behind the scenes, they do communicate with the "SandersForPresident"moderators.
"We work closely with those in leadership roles on the subreddit to make sure that the large audience on Reddit knows exactly how to get involved in the campaign and spread the senator's message," Kenneth Pennington, digital director for Sanders' campaign, told Mic.
Posts include volunteer opportunities, campaign event announcements, discussion threads and news articles about the senator in the different subreddits. Some of the more popular posts among the pro-Sanders crowd recently have included political cartoons and an image of a chalk mural dedicated to his campaign created by supporters at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Sanders' popularity on the site could be attributed to his active presence there. Not long after announcing his candidacy, he conducted a Reddit AMA where subscribers could directly ask him questions.
But while Sanders has the lead on Reddit, he still has a ways to go on other social media platforms. On Twitter, Sanders has 402,000 followers to fellow Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's 4.16 million.