In the middle of the 2018 interview, Bernie Sanders of Vermont traveled to reelection Tuesday night, assuring a third term in the Senate, with a slight vote of 66.1%. In a year in which the old Senate agents on either side of the aisle were either disadvantaged or faced with tough challenges, Sanders continued a tradition that dates back to his home days to win too easily for make titles. He was barely mentioned during the election of cable night-marathon news.
But Sanders was an important part of the 2018 narrative. He had a tough campaign for a few candidates, especially the Florida Democrat, Andrew Gillum, and he was deeply disappointed with Gillum's narrow loss (which appears on the to be resumed). Specialists have treated many of the country's races as referenda on the viability of progressive politics in Sanders' style.
As we did after the Election Day of 2016, Rolling Stone got Sanders to ask him to take his life in the middle, the probable strategy of the Democrats in the House, the dismissal of his former Senate colleague Jeff Sessions, and other key issues.
Sanders, a possible candidate for president in 2020, called Tuesday's victories "an important step in revitalizing American democracy." But he also had some usual sharp features about conventional wisdom about results.
As he did two years ago, Sanders warned against satisfaction and insisted that it would be a "very, very serious mistake" if the Democrats were not at least try to transmit progressive legislation to name Trump's populist bluff. If he did not, it would mean to give up a vital territory to Trump, a man with "no basic beliefs."
Matt Taibbi: Senator, congratulations on your win.
Senator Bernie Sanders: Thank you very much.
First impressions of the election night? The most encouraging result, the least encouraging?
My impression is that given the fact that he pulled the Trump [Attorney General Jeff] Today's sessions to remove media coverage from [Tuesday] the night tells me I had a pretty good night. I guess [Tuesday] night was a significant rejection of Trumpism. Not only did the Democrats regain control of the Chamber, which was the most important development, the Democrats won seven governor races. Democrats won 300 races on state law and in the four states that Trump won to win their majority in the Electoral College – Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan – all four Democratic Senate candidates won. And three of the four [Democratic] candidates for the governor have won. Like someone who worked a lot for Andrew Gillum, it was a great disappointment. He made a brilliant campaign that deals with many things, including racism. We will see what happens in Georgia, regardless of whether or not all the votes there will count. But if Abrams loses, that [will be] a painful loss.
Do you have any intention of opposing what happened in Georgia?
I will add my voice and do what I can! The bottom line: We are aware of the absurdity of this Kemp guy, who is the Secretary of State, counting votes. [He] she happens to be her opponent. The request must be that every vote of bleeding should be taken into account. I will add the voice and I will do my best to make sure it will happen.
Washington Post suggested this not progressive "breathing fire" before, without liberals, that the way forward is moderate –
[[[[Laugh]Matt, I am really shocked by this! I can not believe that this is their conclusion, given that they have always shone this absurd line and that was the line they had, which allowed the Republicans to gain control over the Senate and the House, and The White House and the Democrats to lose nearly 1,000 seats over the past nine years. Of course, that's what the institution says, and that will say the established democracy. But the truth is that what happened in these elections is an important step in reviving American democracy. Not moderate democrats or conservative democrats brought young people into the political process. Moderate democrats have not increased the number of voters in these elections over the four years ago, I think by almost 50%.
Not just the moderate democrats who have won incredibly great victories for the House. There were some moderate, sure. But I think that Washington Post Will be very surprised by who appears on the first day of Congress and learns, because it will be the most progressive class of freshmen in the modern history of the United States. Many of these people are not just women, not just black men who have campaigned in Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage to 15 dollars, campaigning to remove public colleges and universities without training to dismantle his taxes Trump for billionaires. However, the political institution, the future belongs to progressives.
Previously you talked about general advocacy sessions. Obviously you served with him in the Senate. Do you have any idea of his inheritance as a general attorney or the significance of that burning?
I would remind you that Trump knows how to manipulate the media and that it is not an accident to have sessions today, not tomorrow, not the next day. Because he wanted to distract from what happened tonight. Sessions were auctioned by Trump. His offer in criminal justice – terrible. His immigration offer – terrible. He has been bidding in several areas. On the one hand, Trump's resentment to the sessions was that he had recalled Mueller's investigation, which he was supposed to do well. And Trump never forgave him. The key question now is whether Trump will or will not try to hinder Mueller's investigation. And he should not be allowed to do that. Congress must adopt legislation to protect this investigation. However, if Trump goes on and tries to prevent it, it is in my mind an obstruction of justice, which is an improbable crime. So we have to do everything we can, in any way, to make sure the investigation goes on.
Do you have any idea about leadership in the House?
I'll let them do it themselves. Of course, I'm no longer a member of the House. We'll let them make their own decisions. But that's what they all think. I believe that, from day one, the Democrats in the Chamber must come up with a progressive agenda that meets the needs of the working people. And that leads to – as you know, the Medicare bill for all, which we have introduced, to be implemented for four years, reduces the age of 65-55, covers all children and reduces the cost prescription medicines. I think about 80% of the American people would support such a proposal. It is extremely popular. And that's what democracies have to do. They have to raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars per hour, they have to make public colleges exempt from taxes and have to lower the debt of the students. All these proposals are extremely popular. And I'm a good public policy. And here's what I think, Matt, that maybe no one else in the world thinks. As you know, Trump is a 100% political opportunist who has no other political opinion than how he can win the election.
Well, it's true.
Today, if he is racist and sexist, tomorrow he can be a great civil rights champion – if he thinks he gets five more votes. It has no fundamental values. I would not have been shocked that if the Democrats had adopted popular, good law, Trump would look around him and say, "Hey, why not? What the fuck can he come on board for that he ultimately believes in nothing but winning. So I think it is extremely important for the Democrats to get out of the gate and start to go through very good legislation that puts Trump and Republicans on the defensive.
So far, what I have read about the Democrats' intention within the Chamber is that much of them focuses on investigations; we have 64 quotes that we want to get rid of and –
Look, people can chew gum and can go at the same time. Democrats can do that. And if all she's going to do is investigate Trump, it would be, in my view, a very big mistake. I think at last you will have a look at Trump's behavior. And I think the investigations are absolutely right. But at the same time, those who make $ 11 an hour are not worried about the investigations. Persons who do not have medical care or can not afford prescription drugs are not worried about the summons. People who can not afford to send their children to college are not worried about another investigation. So, it would be a tragic mistake, in my opinion, if all the Democrats were focused on investigations. You must, must advances with a progressive agenda to win the support of the American people.
Because there is none. Investigation, supervision: very important. But they must present a progressive agenda for the working people.
And should it do so, perhaps before the start of the presidential race in 2020?
You have to do it the first day. They can start working on it. I'll work with them. But we have to do that on the first day.