New York Times Podcasts
Why Bernie Sanders is Newly Optimistic
I have had the experience of interviewing Senator Bernie Sanders that you usually speak to someone who realizes that they are rowing against the tide of American politics. They usually talk about what he thinks the president should do but not, or what the Democratic Party should but not support.
But the American rescue plan was different. It’s President Biden’s bill, of course, but it’s the kind of thing Mr Sanders has been fighting to get through for years. This also applies to the next package for full employment through investment. And so I wanted to hear what Mr. Sanders thought of that moment when he apparently lost the election but won many of the arguments.
So I asked him on my podcast and what I got was a much more upbeat Mr. Sanders than ever before. “Congress doesn’t pass perfect bills,” he told me. “But for workers, this is the most important law passed since the 1960s.”
We also talked about the filibuster, which went from being a supporter to being rejected even during the 2020 campaign. and the struggles over language and culture, in which he clearly has concerns about where liberals are headed and how difficult it is to speak to voters who might otherwise economically agree with them.
“These cultural problems,” he said, “I don’t know how to fill the gap.” But “somehow, in some cases, the intellectual elite have a disdain for the people who live in rural America,” he said, arguing that the first step in winning those voters back is to prove that you respect them.
It’s an interesting, thoughtful conversation with a politician who is finally rowing with the tide and obviously excited to see how far he can go. I hope You will be listening by following “The Ezra Klein Show”. Anywhere you can get your podcasts or read the transcript here.