Bernie Sanders has drawn nearly as much attention for his scowling, ornery demeanor as he has for his political policies. Throughout his campaign, Sanders has yelled hoarsely to crowds, journalists, and moderators about what he's diagnosed as the nation's greatest ailments: a rigged economy, a corrupt campaign finance system, a billionaire class that doesn't pay its fair share, etc. Though he's known to crack the occasional joke, Sanders doesn't generally present as cheerful. However, this distinctive disposition was what made Sanders' giddy moment during his speech on the night of the Iowa caucuses so beautiful.
Sanders took the stage hours after caucusing had begun, when the results were too close to call. He was welcomed by a hysterical crowd, whose refusal to let up with cheering and chanting seemed to tickle him from the get-go. He even appeared to be biting his lips to keep from beaming. He let out a brief smile and laugh before quieting the crowd with his first words, beginning his speech with a familiar seriousness. (You can delight in Sanders' moment starting just before the two-minute mark of the video of his speech, included below.)
Sanders told the adoring crowd:
Nine months ago, we came to this beautiful state. We had no political organization. We had no money. We had no name recognition. And we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America. And tonight, while the results are still unknown, it looks like we are in a virtual tie.
A "virtual tie" may not sound like something to be thrilled about. But Sanders put it in context, and his supporters reacted as though he had achieved the ultimate victory. Sanders tried to continue his speech amid the screams and cheers, putting his arm in the air to try to quiet the crowd, but his supporters would not quit. After about 15 seconds of full cheering, Sanders burst into a giant smile. He let out a belly laugh and even a "Woooo!" and then pumped his fist in the air triumphantly.
The senator quickly recovered from his brief moment of celebration and proceeded with his issue-driven speech. Still, even though he returned to business as usual, it was moving to see Sanders relish this moment of unfettered giddiness, however brief.
Listen to the latest episode of The Chat Room where we go in depth with Bustle's politics editor about what actually happened in Iowa & Trump's Twitter rant: