After dining with Al Sharpton yesterday morning following his New Hampshire win, Bernie Sanders continued his conversational rounds with American icons later in the day with an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, in which Sanders both got to aim comedic ire at Bill O’Reilly, while also having to address some challenging questions from Colbert.
While the late night host congratulated the democratic candidate, Colbert also aimed scrutinizing questions at Sanders and his revolutionary proposals for healthcare, public college, and taxation — though admittedly many were questions the candidate — and you — have certainly heard before.
There were the usual questions about how exactly Sanders hoped to accomplish his presidential ideals and avoid paralysis from a Congress that might be adversarial to his aims. However, one particularly bold question was about whether Sanders foresees a “revolution” that’d “end in violence.”
“We’re not talking about violence at all,” Sanders replied.
Colbert said, “I know you’re not talking about violence. But those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable, is what John Kennedy said. If your answer is not The Answer, is a violent revolution inevitable?”
Sanders responded, “I certainly hope not. But I hope and what the goal of this campaign is all about, is to look at the civil rights movement, look at the women’s movement, look at the gay moment. Understand that when people come together, we can accomplish enormous things.”
Another tough question Colbert posed was about why some people may be undecided between him and Trump. “Bill O’Reilly said you guys are the same thing with different haircuts,” Colbert said.
“Let me say something about Bill O’Reilly — and this is another reason people might want to vote for me. Bill said that if I won the presidency, he would move to Ireland. So electing me President is a twofer — you get Sanders and you get Bill to go to Ireland.”
This alone is a compelling — albeit somewhat evasive — answer, and so Colbert pressed him, then, to answer why the same people might either vote for him or Trump, noting that the two candidates “don’t seem like two sides of the same coin.” Here, Sanders launched into a speech that showed the Bill O’Reilly joke wasn’t merely a way to avoid the question — or that if it initially was, he was ultimately able to potently meet Colbert’s question without sidestepping:
I think a lot of Donald Trump’s supporters are angry. They’re in many cases people who’re working longer hours for low wages, they’re people who’re really worried about what’s going to happen to their kids. But I think what they have done is responded to Trump’s false message — which suggests that if we keep Muslims out of this country, or if we keep scapegoating Latinos or Mexicans, that somehow this country becomes better. That’s a false solution. In my view, people have a right to be angry — we have a right to be angry when we’re the only major country on Earth that doesn’t provide paid family medical leave. When we have more people living in poverty today than almost any time in the history of this country. People have a right to be angry, but what we need to be is rational in how we address the problems and not simply scapegoating minorities.
Watch a clip from his appearance: