Bernie Sanders has a message for liberals despairing after the victory of President-elect Donald Trump: It’s as good a time as ever to stick up for the “political revolution” the Vermont senator advocated in the Democratic primary.
Promoting his new book, “Our Revolution,” on the Late Show Monday night, Sanders got challenged on the tract’s premise — that today’s a good moment to advance populist-progressive change — by host Stephen Colbert.
“Now that the results of the election are in, any thoughts about changing the title of the book?” the comedian quizzed the senator.
“Now more than ever, our revolution!” Sanders responded, tapping the book copy for emphasis.
Despite the results of last week’s election, Sanders told Colbert that he saw ample reason for optimism about the future of the country.
“I saw so many beautiful people… who want to make this country into the country we know it can become, not only trying to wipe out prejudice but create an economy that works for all of us,” he said, referencing his primary campaign.
But he also issued a warning.
“The Democratic Party cannot continue to be run by what I call a liberal elite,” he said. “The party has to transform itself to be a party that, first of all, opens the door, that is a party that feels the pain of working class people, middle class people, young, old people.”
No matter the hopeful rhetoric, Sanders cautioned about the dangers of a Trump presidency, saying that the new administration could try to distort future electoral results by further relaxing campaign finance limits and engaging in voter suppression.
According to him, the worst scenario come next January would be if the Republican decided “we are going to change the rules of the game so we don’t lose anymore.”
After Hillary Clinton’s shock loss to Trump, Sanders advice about the need for the Democrats to become a more populist force has taken on some of the aura of prophecy.
In the wake of Britain’s June decision to leave the European Union, he penned an op-ed widely seen as presaging the Republican leader’s victory.
In that piece, titled “Democrats Need to Wake Up,” Sanders worried that America could see the success of a similar ethno-nationalist populism.
“In this pivotal moment, the Democratic Party and a new Democratic president need to make clear that we stand with those who are struggling and who have been left behind,” he wrote. “We must create national and global economies that work for all, not just a handful of billionaires.”
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.