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It’s early on Friday morning and the union hall is packed with people waiting to see Bernie Sanders. Mostly gray-haired retirees fill the first few rows while unionists, college students and activists, including some veterans of the Occupy movement, are scattered toward the back of the modestly-sized room. They’re here for a town hall meeting that’s been billed “The Fight for Economic Justice.”

When the Vermont Senator arrives a bit later than advertised, the crowd at Communications Workers of America Local 3204’s headquarters in Atlanta greets the 72-year old independent with a raucous standing ovation. Sanders may be a thousand miles away from his New England constituency, but here he’s the “People’s Senator,” as a couple of folks declare during the question and answer portion of the meeting.

Columbia, S.C., Birmingham and Atlanta may seem like odd locations for a self-identified socialist senator from Vermont who speaks in a native Brooklyn accent to hold town hall meetings. But Sanders is convinced that an unapologetically social-democratic political message—grounded in calls for economic justice and a redistributive state—can resonate anywhere in the country, even in those Southern states responsible for electing many of the Tea Party representatives in Congress.

You can always recognize smart people in the South. They’re the ones wearing Like the Dew gear. Here, for instance, is Alex Taylor of Atlanta. He’s not only wearing a Like the Dew cap. He’s also actually reading a book. Imagine that! And if you’re looking for some of that gear from the progressive Southern Web site, check it out by clicking here.

You can always recognize smart people in the South. They’re the ones wearing Like the Dew gear. Here, for instance, is Alex Taylor of Atlanta. He’s not only wearing a Like the Dew cap. He’s also actually reading a book. Imagine that! And if you’re looking for some of that gear from the progressive Southern Web site, check it out by clicking here.

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