Bernie Sanders has come a long way since his first appearance on The Nightly Show just over one year ago this week. On Wednesday, the Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate had his fourth sit-down with Larry Wilmore, and his frustration with the nomination process was on full display.
But first, the host gave him a platform to respond to Ted Cruz’s attack on “New York values,” which has continued even as that state’s delegate-rich primary approaches next week.
“That’s right. It’s me, Bernie ‘Brooklyn-born’ Sanders, and guess what, Ted Cruz, I have New York values,” the senator said. “I value a living wage for all Americans, I value a justice system that treats everyone fairly, I value a government which works for all of us, not just Wall Street and powerful special interests — those are New York values.”
“And when you say having New York values is a bad thing, you insult my city, my state, my culture and my heritage,” Sanders added. “I am the son of an immigrant and I’m proud of it.”
For good measure, Sanders also shared some “New York values” with Donald Trump. “Mr. Trump, you wouldn’t know New York values if they were written in 50-foot gold letters on the side of the Empire State Building,” the candidate said. “New York values are the Statue of Liberty, not a wall between us and Mexico. In New York we pride ourselves on our diversity, we don’t divide people up based on where they were born.”
Sanders ended the monologue with an inspiring message that put forth the declaration that “New York values are American values — there is no difference.” Then, he dropped the mic and walked off stage.
Later, during the interview portion of the show, Wilmore asked Sanders if he, like Donald Trump on the Republican side, believes the system is “rigged” against him. The candidate said, “Well, you know, people say, ‘Why does Iowa go first, why does New Hampshire go first?’ But I think that having so many Southern states go first kind of distorts reality as well.”
Because Hillary Clinton was able to rack up so many pledged delegates so early in states like South Carolina, Louisiana, and Georgia, Sanders said he believes it put him at a disadvantage at least on a perception level.
“Our path is with the math,” Sanders said, despite trailing Clinton by more than 200 pledged delegates. “We started off this campaign having to run in the Deep South,” he added, to which Wilmore replied, “Trust me, I know about running in the Deep South.”
Sanders also predicted that the superdelegates (or as Wilmore liked to call them in the ‘90s “superpredators”), who support Clinton by a large margin at this point, could be persuaded to switch sides if he comes close to overtaking her in the popular vote. “When a lot of these so-called superdelegates begin to see which candidate is the stronger candidate against Donald Trump,” he said of the general election match-ups, “I think some of these guys are going to be coming our way.”
Wilmore then asked Sanders how he was going to get Congress to “feel the Bern” when President Obama couldn’t get them to “feel the black.” If he wins, Sanders said, it will mean there was a “huge voter turnout” and Democrats will likely win back the Senate as well.
“But more importantly,” he continued, “what our campaign is about is not just for electing a president, it is creating a political revolution,” he said. “That means million of people, many of whom have given up the political process, young people who have not yet voted or participated in the political process, standing up and fighting back and taking on the establishment and demanding a government which works for all of us and not just the 1 percent.”
“And when that happens, when millions of people stand up and fight back, you know what?” he asked. “You can see real change in this country and then Congress will be forced to do what the American people want.”
Before letting the candidate go, Wilmore pointed out that he is Jewish, used to work as a carpenter, has been invited to meet with the Pope at the Vatican, and delivers sermons on mounts to large numbers of followers. “Are you Jesus?” he asked.