Bernie Sanders

Interview with John Dickerson of CBS News' "Face the Nation"

April 24, 2016

DICKERSON: Turning now to the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by eight points in our Pennsylvania Battleground Tracker, 51 percent to 43 percent. In Indiana, it's a tighter race there, too. Clinton is up five points over Sanders 49 to 44 among likely Democratic primary voters.

With that, we turn to Senator Sanders, who joins us from Providence this morning.

Senator, I want to ask, Hillary Clinton has more votes and delegates. Is it your view that Democrats want to vote for you, but that there is something rigged about the system that is keeping that from happening?

SANDERS: No, John.

We started this campaign 60 points behind Secretary Clinton. And in the last couple of weeks, a number of the national polls have had us either tied, me ahead a little bit or her ahead a little bit.

We have come an enormous way. We are running against the most powerful political organization in United States of America. And I'm very proud of the campaign that we have run. We have won 16 states right now. In almost all of the contests, we win the younger people. By that, I mean not just kids, but people 45 years of age or under.

I think the ideas we are talking about are what the American people and people in Democratic Party want to hear. We are the future of the Democratic Party. So, I'm very proud of where we are, and we look forward to finding this out through California.

DICKERSON: One of the issues you have talked about so much is income inequality.

NPR did an analysis, though, and found in places where income inequality was high, that Hillary was winning in those places.

You were asked about this on "Meet the Press" and you said, well, poor people don't vote. But in states like Ohio, Florida, New York, and even Michigan, which you won, those who would be--those earning less than $30,000 ended up voting more for Hillary Clinton. So, that doesn't seem to be the case.

SANDERS: Well, but -- well, first thought, one of the challenges that we have as a nation is that we have one of the lowest voter turnouts in general of any major country on Earth.

In the last national election, 63 percent of the American people didn't vote and those numbers were worse for young people and for low-income people. I believe that what we are trying to do in this campaign, John, with some success, is bring people into the political process.

And, obviously, we have got to do better, but I would hope that if I am the nominee that on Election Day you're going to see a very, very large voter turnout. And if that is the case, I think we can change the dynamics of American politics, so it is not just big money interests who help elect candidates through outrageous campaign contributions, but what we have is vibrant democracy where old people participate.

DICKERSON: But do you still stand by the idea that because poor people aren't voting, that is why you're not winning?

SANDERS: Well, I think we would -- the fact of the matter is, is that we have low voter turnouts.

In New York state, three million independents were ineligible to vote. I think that that is pretty crazy. And I think that, as a nation, we have got to significantly increase the voter turnout. There is no doubt that among low-income people, the voting turnout is quite low.

DICKERSON: The -- one of the -- in our polls, one of the things we found is that your supporters really want to you continue even if you don't get the number of delegates because you have so affected Hillary's positions on so many things.

If that's the case and you were to continue, is there a specific issue or two that you, given leverage you have, would demand that the nominee support that Hillary Clinton is not supporting at the moment?

SANDERS: Well, John, there's not a question whether if we are going to continue. We are going to continue. We're going to fight this out to the last vote is cast. That's what democracy is about.

You can't say to the largest state in this country, California, you can't determine who the nominee will be or what the agenda will be. The basic issue -- issues that we are running on is that we have a rigged economy where the middle class continues to decline and almost all the income and wealth goes to the top 1 percent, that we are not being vigorous enough in combating climate change.

And let me tell you something, because I'm on the Environmental Committee, and the scientists are very clear. If we don't transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, this planet is in serious trouble for our kids and our grandchildren.

And I got to also add that what we are going to fight for is to end the corrupt campaign finance system by which billionaires of Wall Street and super PACs are able to buy elections. Those are the issues that I think are mobilizing the American people and we will continue to fight for.

DICKERSON: Yes, I guess what I was asking is whether you will take the fight all the way to the convention and say something like, if you don't get nomination, I would like Hillary Clinton to support that $15 national minimum wage, reinstate Glass-Steagall, come out against fracking more forcefully, make specific requests like that.

SANDERS: John,that was a very good start. You're doing well. Keep going.

DICKERSON: So, you would do all that?

SANDERS: But why don't we throw in the fact -- yes, and why don't we throw in the fact that we are the only major country on Earth that doesn't guarantee health care to all people as a right?

And we need a Medicare-for-all health care program. We need to guarantee paid family and medical leave. We need to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. All of those issues are issues that I believe that the vast majority of people in the Democratic Party support. I hope that if I do not win the nomination, that that will be part of Clinton's agenda.

DICKERSON: Your strategist Tad Devine said that if -- after next Tuesday, you may rethink, reevaluate your tone towards Hillary Clinton. What does that mean?

SANDERS: I have not the slightest idea. You have to ask Tad.

My own view is that we are going to debate in a respectful manner the differences of opinions that we have. And we have many differences with Secretary Clinton, as you indicated. I believe the minimum wage should be 15 bucks an hour. She believes it should be $12 an hour.

I believe that we have got to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. I believe that we need a carbon tax, which many of the international financial organizations agree with me on, if we are going to be serious about transforming our energy system and saving this planet.

I believe in -- my foreign policy views are quite different than Secretary Clinton's, not only that she voted for the war in Iraq, and I opposed it. I have not great fan of regime change, because you have too many unintended consequences. And I do not want our brave men and women in the military to get sucked into perpetual welfare in the Middle East.

DICKERSON: All right.

SANDERS: So, I will continue contrasting my views with the secretary's.

DICKERSON: OK. Senator Sanders, thanks so much.

SANDERS: Thank you very much.

Bernie Sanders, Interview with John Dickerson of CBS News' "Face the Nation" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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