"Bernie Sanders on how to hold Donald Trump accountable" PBS NewsHour 11/21/2016
SUMMARY: In “Our Revolution,” Bernie Sanders discusses this year's election and what he sees as the future of American politics. Jeffrey Brown sat down with Sen. Bernie Sanders at the National Book Festival in Miami to discuss the election of Donald Trump and building a progressive movement in the U.S.
JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour): This weekend, Jeffrey Brown sat down with Senator Bernie Sanders at the Miami Book Fair to talk about his new book, “Our Revolution,” to discuss the presidential election, and to get his take on the future of American politics.
Jeff began by asking the senator why he thought Donald Trump's message attracted so many voters.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Va.): I think he understood that there are many millions of people in this country, the working middle class, who are really hurting. They are in pain.
They are working longer hours for lower wages, can't afford child care, scared to death of retirement because they have no money in the bank. They have seen decent-paying jobs leave their community, go to China and Mexico.
And he said: I, Donald Trump, yes, I am going to take on the entire establishment. I'm going to take on the political establishment. I am going to take on the economic establishment. I'm going to take on the media establishment.
And I think a lot of people responded positively to that message.
JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour): I was telling you I was in Iowa, North Carolina seeing a lot of the things that I think you were seeing of people around the country and the desperate shape that they were in.
But why then would Donald Trump become that champion?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Now, how many hours do we have to discuss that issue? That's the question that needs a lot of discussion.
And I think it speaks to a large degree to the failure of the Democratic Party.
JEFFREY BROWN: The failure?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Yes, which is something I'm trying to deal with right now.
The Democratic Party has been very strong in a lot of areas, in fighting to make our country a less discriminatory country. And that is enormously important. And, by the way, on that issue, there cannot be any compromise. Trump's language has been atrocious, his behavior toward women.
We cannot go back to a racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic type of society.
But, on economic issues, I think there are many people in the working class who say, you know what? Yes, maybe we are better off than we were eight years ago, but I am still working two or three jobs, my kid can't afford to go to college, I can't afford child care, my real wages have been going down for 40 years. The middle class is shrinking. Who's standing up for me?
The Democratic Party there for me? Are they going to take on Wall Street? Are they going to take on the drug companies that rip me off? And the perception was, no, they will not.
JEFFREY BROWN: But when you look at the election, and you think about those issues as drivers in the election, did you feel — do you feel that you could have won if it was you against Donald Trump?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I have been asked that question about 48 million times.
JEFFREY BROWN: I know, so make it 48 million, plus one.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: There you go.
And the answer is, who knows? I mean, I think what we can say is that the polling when I was running against Secretary Clinton during the process, primary process, had me doing better against Trump. And some recent polls suggest that I would have won.
But, you know, you don't know what a three- or four-month campaign is about. But I will say, I would very much have loved the opportunity.
Bernie would have won!