Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign proved to the corporate media and political elite that the progressive ideas he championed—healthcare for all, free college tuition, progressive taxation, a living wage—are not fringe ideas. In fact, as the senator explained in an exclusive interview with The Nation magazine, this is what most Americans want.
“I believed from my heart of hearts that the ideas I was talking about were not courageous, radical, bold ideas,” he told editor Katrina vanden Heuvel and national affairs correspondent John Nichols. “The ideas that I was talking about are what most Americans would support if they had the chance to hear these views, which they do not under normal circumstances.”
“You could watch CNN for the next 14 years, and you’re not going to hear a discussion about the need for a single-payer health-care system,” he continued. “You’re not going to see a critique of the drug companies, and you’re not going to hear much discussion about income and wealth inequality. My view was that if we could get out to the American people, get the exposure, make the personal contacts, we would do well.”
His primary concern entering the presidential race, he said, was “not want[ing] to run a campaign that would be counterproductive to the progressive vision that so many people in this country share.”
“If I ran a bad campaign,” he explained, “then what would the establishment say? ‘Bernie Sanders came up with all these progressive ideas, nobody listened to him, that’s not what America is about. These ideas are not the ideas of the United States.’ A failed campaign would reflect very badly on the vision that many of us share. That’s why I was motivated and determined to run a serious and strong campaign.”
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Which he did. The senator from Vermont won more than 12 million votes and forced the Democratic Party to produce what he and many others say is the most progressive agenda ever put forth by a major party.
The interview, conducted last week and published Tuesday, allowed Sanders to reflect while also providing space to discuss the future of the “political revolution” his campaign helped ignite. From his work on down-ticket races to his controversial endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president, the senator from Vermont talked openly about what’s at stake in this election.
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