Bernie Sanders brings his presidential message to Chicago

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - People lined up around the block in Lincoln Park to see a star Monday night.

Bernie Sanders is a Democratic candidate for president who is drawing huge crowds wherever he goes.

His latest standing room only crowd at a theater in Lincoln Park begs the question, "Is Bernie Sanders really a serious threat to Hillary Clinton's bid for the Democratic nomination, or a flash-in-the-pan?"

Fans lined up along Armitage Avenue hours before the rally's scheduled start, with the queue eventually extending up Clark Street, waiting for what was apparently just the fifth formal, physical fundraiser for Bernie Sanders. He's pulled in more than $15 million mostly via the internet.

“No president, not Bernie Sanders or anybody else, can do what has to be done to transform this country in a way that works for the middle class, unless there is a political revolution,” Sanders said.

While Sanders calls himself a Democratic socialist -- and favors big tax increases on the rich -- parts of his stump speech could have been delivered at a Tea Party rally of angry conservatives.

“We cannot bring about the change that we need unless millions of people are actively involved in the political process, unless millions of people stand up and say, "Enough is enough!" Sanders said.

Also on Monday’s program was a former candidate Sanders endorsed for mayor of Chicago last spring.

Chuy Garcia told FOX 32 that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the man who beat him, should consider a city income tax to close a huge budget gap.

“We cannot afford not to look at it. I look it because it's more progressive. It's based on what people earn annually. I think that's the type of sustainable taxation that we need to be looking at to ensure that we get out of this crisis,” Garcia said.

That battle heats up next month when the mayor presents his city budget.

But as for Bernie Sanders and how big a challenge he presents to Hillary Clinton, voter opinion surveys nationally and in first-to-vote Iowa show her over 50 percent, with Sanders 25 or 30 points behind.

It's a different story in 2nd to vote New Hampshire, right next door to Sanders home in Vermont. One poll there has him up by 7 percentage points over Clinton.