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Bernie Sanders and what comes next for the democrats ...

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The following paragraphs have been extracted from an interview of Bernie Sanders by Mat Taibbe of Rolling Stone, see link. Sanders hits it out of the ballpark!

"Trump voters in Wisconsin lectured me at one event: "Did you see that 65-year-old guy working at McDonald's up the road? What the hell kind of America is this?"

They're absolutely right! The thing is, it's not just the weakness of the Democratic Party and their dependency on the upper middle class, the wealthy, and living in a bubble. It is a media where people turn on the television, they do not see a reflection of their lives. When they do, it is a caricature. Some idiot. Or maybe some criminal, some white working-class guy who has just stabbed three people. Or some lunatic.

Then Trump comes along and says, "I don't believe the media. The media are all goddamned liars anyhow." He distorts, and the problem is he lies all the time. Media occasionally does its job and catches him lying. But people say, "Yeah, he's right. I watch the media. I don't believe the media."

Wasn't that theme of anger toward the intellectual class huge in this campaign?

What I would say to people who are feeling, as I am, frightened and unhappy about this situation: Do not believe that the vast majority of the people who voted for Trump are racist, sexist or homophobes. I don't believe that. Some are. I don't believe they all are. They have turned to Trump out of desperation and pain because the Democratic Party has not even acknowledged their reality, let alone addressed it.

You talked about giving Trump a chance to earn your support. What did you mean?

There are areas where people like me could work with him: rebuilding the infrastructure, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, re-establishing Glass-Steagall, raising the minimum wage. Those are ideas that we can work on. Now, was he being totally hypocritical and just saying whatever came to his mind that he thought could attract votes? Or does he believe that?

Where there will not be any compromise is in the areas of racism or sexism or xenophobia or Islamophobia. This country has struggled for too many centuries to try to become a less discriminatory society. We've made progress that we should be proud of, and we're not going back to an era of racism and sexism and discrimination. On that there will not be any compromise. But you're really asking, are there areas that we can perhaps work together? If he remains consistent with what he said on the campaign trail, we'll see.

With Trump, was there a moment during the past year when you went from thinking "This is a joke" to "This is real!" Or did you realize right away that it was serious?

I didn't realize right away. I didn't know much about him. What I believed and he believed is that the central part of your campaign should be rallies. Why is that? Because it's not only the ability to communicate with large numbers of people and get media attention as a result of that, but when 20,000 people sit in an arena or stadium and they look around and they say, "We're all on the same team together," that creates a kind of energy.

He understood that. When I started seeing him bring these large turnouts of working-class people, I knew that that was real, you know? What politics passes for now is somebody goes on Meet the Press and they do well: "Oh, this guy is brilliant, wonderful." No one cares about Meet the Press. But that you can go out and bring out many, many thousands of people who are supporting your campaign – that is real stuff. When I began to see that, I said, "This guy is a real candidate." Who could do it? Jeb Bush couldn't do that. Marco Rubio couldn't do it. [Trump] was clearly striking a nerve and a chord that other candidates weren't.

So did you, though.

That is absolutely right. Surely did.

In your book, there is clearly a longing to recapture lost Democratic voters. How do you do that?

What I'd say to readers of Rolling Stone is: We have to understand that Trump, in a sense, revolutionized politics, and we have to respond to that. What does that mean? You start with 46 percent of the American people not even voting in this election. Of the 54 percent who do vote, how many are really engaged in politics, or just voting once every two years or four years? How many people really go to meetings? How many are involved in unions? Are involved in environmental works? Or anti-racism? Or anti-poverty work?

I think you're talking about, certainly, far less than five percent. A good chunk of those could be right-wing people, so you're down to maybe one or two percent of people in this country who are actively involved in progressive movements and ideas. If we can bring the number up to six or seven percent, you can transform America. Irrespective of Trump. Irrespective of Republicans."

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