Transcript: Thom Hartmann: - Bernie Sanders joins Thom after YUGE Michigan win! 06 March '16

Thom Hartmann: And welcome back! Thom Hartmann here with you. And on the line with us is, this is which, line 11? Line 11. It's Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders, welcome back!

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Hey, Thom, how are you?

Thom Hartmann: I am great. It's so nice to hear your voice, especially on the air.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: It's mutual. You know, I just have to apologize. I miss doing the show on a weekly basis, Brunch with Bernie. But, you know, needless to say the schedule has been so crazy that I'm either in the air or some city or some place and we haven't been able to do it. But let me just say hello and thank you to the millions of listeners that you have. And you know how much the show has meant to me for the last, what is it, 7, 8 years * that we have done it together.

Thom Hartmann: Yeah, yeah. And to us too. Your associate Michael Briggs made the comment to me a few months ago, and I don't think I'm talking out of school here, he said, "you know, Thom, I've never been in an avalanche, but I'm starting to understand what it must feel like". So, what are your thoughts on what happened in Michigan yesterday, your victory in Michigan? You went from being 23 points down in the polls to winning the state. What do you attribute that to?

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Well, I think in almost every state we have contested we start of being way, way down in the polls to Secretary Clinton. In Iowa we were 50 points down, we ended up in a tie. In New Hampshire we were 30 points down, we ended up winning by 20 points. And what happens is, I think the more people in a given state, and whether it is Illinois or Ohio or Missouri or Florida, states that we will be visiting very shortly, the more that people become familiar with our message, the better we do.

Thom Hartmann: Yeah.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: And that message clearly is that we have a corrupt campaign finance system in which billionaires are buying elections, that we have a rigged economy in which ordinary Americans work longer hours for low wages; almost all new income and wealth goes to the top 1%. And that we have a broken criminal justice system which has more people in jail in America that any other country on Earth. 2.2 million people, largely African American, Latino and Native American. So that message is resonating, people want an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1%. And the more we are able to say that, state after state after state, the bigger response we get.

Thom Hartmann: Yeah. I'm so glad to hear you mention Native Americans too because they so often get forgotten.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: You're right.

Thom Hartmann: It's just a tragedy what's happening on our Native American reservations.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: We have, Thom, in almost every region of the country, we go out of our way to meet with local tribal leaders. And you're right, rate of poverty, rate of alcoholism, rate of suicide are unbelievably high. We owe the Native American community so much and we have treated them disgracefully and if elected president, I will change that relationship.

Thom Hartmann: Yeah. What are your thoughts on the greatest challenges that are facing this country right now? And if you're elected president, what you would do or how you would go about addressing them?

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Well Thom, you know, that's why I am running for president. Because the challenges that we face are so severe that I just believe it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. I mean, number one: how does it happen that despite an explosion of technology and worker productivity, the average worker today is working longer hours for low wages and almost all new income and wealth goes to the top 1%? So, challenge one, how do you create an economy that works for all of us and not just the 1%?

Number 2. You've got, I'm on the Senate Environmental committee, I hear from scientists all over our country and all over the world. And as I think most of your listeners know, climate change is real, it's caused by human activity, it is already causing devastating problems in our country and around the world. Unbelievably my Republican colleagues in the Congress refuse to listen to the scientists. They ignore the scientists. And that will mean a disaster for this planet. So what we have got to do as a country is work with China, Russia, India, countries all over this world, have the courage to take on the fossil fuel industry, transform our energy, our energy systems of energy efficiency and sustainable energy. And if we don't do that, I worry very, very much about the planet that we're leaving our children and our grandchildren in terms of its health and ability for people to live well on.

You've got criminal justice. Wealthiest country in the history of the world, and yet today an African American baby male being born stands a 1 in 4 chance ending up in prison. That is totally horrific and that has got to be dealt with. And not to mention the need for major reform within police departments all over this country so that we don't see innocent people or unarmed people being shot by police officers.

You've got a great crisis in education in America. We've got hundreds of thousands of bright young people unable to afford to go to college, and millions of others leaving school in debt to the tune of 50, a hundred thousand dollars, paying off that debt for decades. Why do people have to be punished for getting a higher education? We need to make public colleges and universities tuition free.

We have a tax system which is totally out of whack. You've got multi billion dollar corporations making huge profits and in a given year not paying a nickel in taxes because they're stashing their profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens. We have some of the wealthiest people in this country paying an effective tax rate lower than working class people.

So, I mean, all of these issues and a lot more are out there and the only way to answer your question that we change it is when millions of people begin to stand up and fight back and demand that we have a government that represents all of us and not just the 1%. And what I've been very proud of, this campaign, Thom, is not just that we have won 9 states in terms of their caucuses and their primaries, but in many of these states we're now seeing record-breaking turnouts.

Yesterday in Michigan it was a record-breaking turnout, or at least, higher than any year since 1972. Kansas, record-breaking turnout, in Colorado I think it was a record-breaking turnout.

Thom Hartmann: New Hampshire was for you. You got more votes in New Hampshire than any candidate for either party in the history of the state.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Right. So what is happening, and this excites me very much, you know, talk about Maine. Maine, I think, had a record-breaking turnout, there were people waiting in line in Maine where it was cold for hours. There was a half a mile line for people to get into that caucus and we won by a landslide victory there. So I think what's happening is people, this idea of a political revolution, of people saying, "you know what? We're not going to let the Koch brothers and the billionaires buy these elections, we're going to fight back, we're going to get involved". I think that message is resonating and I'm very proud of that.

Thom Hartmann: Right. We have about a minute to the break and I'm assuming that you just have this time with us right now.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: That's correct. I apologize.

Thom Hartmann: OK. Yeah, in that minute, I've been ranting about, I think that we're seeing the end of both the Republican and Democratic elite consensus. I think they're falling apart and we're rebooting this country. Your thoughts on that.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: I think you're right. You know, I think right now it turns out that the political elites in both parties who are significantly influenced by big money interests have lost touch with the grass roots. And this is what I believe: I believe that our campaign, and I know it, not what I believe, is appealing to a whole lot of independents. The reason we are going to be a stronger candidate against Donald Trump or anybody else the Republicans put up, is not just that we are doing really well with Democrats, we're doing very, very well with independents. And you know what? We're doing pretty well with working class Republicans. So I'm going to have disagreements with Republicans, to be sure on a lot of issues, you know: pro choice, I'm pro gay rights, I believe very strongly about climate change. But on economic issues, you know, you can be a Republican and you can't afford to send your kids to college, or you're working longer hours and you're not making very much money. So I think we can put together a coalition of working people to say to the elites that sorry, your day is finished, our government is not just going to work for you, but it's going to work for all of us. And that's what this campaign is about.

Thom Hartmann: Yep. FDR did it in '32.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: You've got it!

Thom Hartmann: And I think you can do it again.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Yep.

Thom Hartmann: Senator Sanders, thanks so much for being with us.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: All right, my pleasure, Thom. Take care.

Thom Hartmann: And best of luck. Thank you very much. We'll be back

* More than 11 years - e.g.: The Thom Hartmann Show with Rep. Bernie Sanders, October 29, 2004

Transcribed by Sue Nethercott.

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