Bernie Sanders has been quietly reaching out to red state voters to mobilize resistance to the Trump agenda, and it’s glorious.
Still on the warpath against Donald Trump’s “pathological” lies and dystopian agenda, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders hasn’t let the losses from last year’s primaries or general election stop him.
In a Friday interview with The Guardian, Sen. Sanders said:
“These are very scary times for the people of the United States, and … for the whole world. We have a president who is a pathological liar. Trump lies all of the time.” And Sanders believes the lying is not accidental: “He lies in order to undermine the foundations of American democracy.”
Sander isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to expressing his opinion of the current White House resident. And despite losing the Democratic Party primary and watching his endorsed candidate, Hillary Clinton, overrun in the Electoral College vote, Sanders isn’t taken it lying down, either. If anything, he seems to be more energized — and more outspoken — in the resistance against some of the most de-evolutionary policies that the county has seen in a decade.
Sanders is painting a dystopian picture of the Trump presidency:
“What he (Trump) wants is to end up as leader of a nation that has moved a significant degree towards authoritarianism; where the president of the United States has extraordinary powers, far more than our constitution has provided for.”
Sanders, who calls himself a “progressive” rather than a “liberal,” says he’s been active in the confirmation process for Trump’s nominations, and is promising to give no quarter when Neil Gorsuch seeks confirmation for the U.S. Supreme Court. Sanders says he’s not happy with Gorsuch’s hints that he would open up the political process to influx of even more private cash.
But even more interesting than what Bernie Sanders is willing to tell interviewers or post on his Facebook page are his quiet sorties across the country into red states to build his progressive movement.
According to Sanders, the Democrats have lost touch with working Americans. Even though he’s technically an Independent, Sanders wants to return the power of the Democratic Party back over to the working and middle class, rather than party insiders and liberal elites. Sanders told the Guardian:
“The platform of the Democratic Party doesn’t go as far as I would like, but I worked on it with Clinton and it is far and away the most progressive platform in the history of American politics.”
Sanders has been traveling the country — largely unnoticed by the big D.C. machine — attending rallies, speaking to his still-loyal supporters and urging them to resist. Bernie Sanders wasn’t spouting hyperbole when he urged revolution.
“My job is to substantially increase the number of people participating in the political process. We’ve been quite successful in this, getting more and more people to run for office. That’s what I’m focusing on.”
And Republicans are feeling the pressure of an empowered population. Recently, many Republican Congress members were afraid to hold town halls and “meet and greets” with their constituents due to the “Indivisible” movement, which suggests progressives use plays from the Tea Party handbook to destabilize the current GOP stranglehold in American politics.
The Resistance movement, nurtured and inspired by progressives like Bernie Sanders, is becoming as much a part of the everyday American political conversation as the Tea Party did a decade ago.
According to The Huffington Post, Sanders has been traveling to the heartland since January, visiting Mississippi, Kansas, and Michigan — all Trump strongholds — in order to connect with working Americans who have been disillusioned by the Democratic Party, and will most likely be used by the Republican Party.
Next week, Sanders is heading to McDowell County, West Virginia, to speak and tape a show with Chris Hayes of MSNBC. Sanders says these are areas of the country where Democrats have shown “an enormous amount of neglect.”
Speaking with HuffPo in a phone interview, Sanders said:
“The truth is, and I think anyone who objectively assesses the situation has to appreciate, that the model the Democrats have followed for the last 10 to 20 years has been an ultimate failure.”
Sanders isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to criticizing the Democrats, either, adding:
“That’s just the objective evidence… Yet we have lost the White House, the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, almost two-thirds of the governors’ chairs and close to 900 legislative seats across this country. How can anyone not conclude that the Democratic agenda and approach has been a failure?”
Bernie Sanders’ speeches show he hasn’t compromised an inch on his progressive agenda: raising the minimum wage, free state college tuition, universal health care, and supporting unions. Earlier this month, Sanders joined a civil rights march at a Nissan Motors plant in Canton, Mississippi in support of unionization.
As keynote speaker for the Kansas Democrats annual convention in February, the Vermont senator was able to bring progressive supporters closer into the party fold. But he didn’t have any qualms about criticizing party stalwarts, telling them that it was time for the party to confront that many Americans were still facing hardship despite the economic recovery of the Obama years. The Kansas City Star quotes Sanders, who said:
“We have to acknowledge that many, many people in this country have been left behind … that many, many people in this country are in deep pain and they are hurting. We cannot address those issues unless we address that reality. And it is a reality.”
Bernie Sanders isn’t giving up, and it will be exciting and inspiring, to see how he will be empowering his followers leading up to the 2018 mid-term elections. Until then, Sanders had some advice to supporters who are worried about Trump’s autocratic policies, telling the Guardian:
“They should take a deep reflection about the history of this country, understand that absolutely these are very difficult and frightening times. But also understand that in moments of crisis, what has happened, time and time again, is that people have stood up and fought back. So despair is absolutely not an option.”
You can watch Bernie Sanders’ interview with the Guardian below: