Like his fellow progressive New Englander Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders is insistent that the only campaign he’s running is to keep his Senate seat in the 2018 midterms. But when the Independent from Vermont sat down for an interview on The Opposition Thursday night, host Jordan Klepper practically begged him to get into the 2020 presidential race.
In response to his former campaign manager Jeff Weaver, who said this week that Sanders is “considering” a 2020 run, the senator said, “Well, I consider a lot of things, but that decision—the focus now is on 2018. 2020 is a way away and we’ll make that decision at the appropriate time.”
Echoing Donald Trump’s praise for Sanders during the 2016 Democratic primary, Klepper told his guest, “I love the idea of you running,” adding, “If you can help divide the Democratic Party, I’d be all about this.”
In an attempt to put Klepper’s narrative to bed, Sanders said, “There is less division among the American people, and certainly within the Democratic Party, than people think.” He cited raising taxes on billionaires, sensible gun safety laws and equal pay for women as examples of policies that everyone on the left can support.
“Do people believe that climate change is real?” Sanders asked. “Now I know that you and the Donald think it’s a hoax emanating from China. I got it. But there are some of us who disagree with that suggestion.” (Actually, in the ad campaign that preceded his show’s premiere, Klepper declared, “China isn’t real.”)
“Well there are critics, even in the Democratic Party, who say having people like you in charge—the face of the Democratic Party or at least of the progressives—that it’s time for younger people to step on up.”
When Sanders feigned offense at being called old, Klepper argued that some believe “there are young voices out there like Joe Biden” who deserve a chance.