Bernie Sanders Says Establishment Won’t ‘Go Easily Into the Sunset’

Senator insists party must embrace progressive ideals for survival

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on April 27. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders continues reminding the Democratic establishment why he is the most popular politician in the country. On April 26, he snubbed President Donald Trump by refusing to attend his meeting with the Senate about North Korea, explaining that he didn’t want to participate in Trump’s publicity stunt.

Additionally, during an interview with Showtime’s The Circus, Sanders reaffirmed his supporters’ belief that Hillary Clinton blew the presidential election and explained that the Democratic establishment was oblivious to the populism he embraced.

“If you allow me, I know this word populism is floated around a lot. What I recognized was pain. All over this country people are hurting, and they are hurting very badly. Trump understood that, by the way, and that’s why he said, ‘The whole system sucks. I’m going to blow it up.’ Well, it turns out he lied,” Sanders said. He was then pressed on whether he thought he would have beaten Trump.

“Who knows,” Sanders said responded. “I mean, yeah, I think it’s likely, but you never know. As you well know, I am not into speculating. It doesn’t matter,” he added before reaffirming his current focus. “I think the politics that the Democratic Party must embrace for its survival is a progressive party that makes it very clear that it stands with working people. I am fighting as hard as I can, and there is massive opposition to that. That’s the fight that we’ll have to wage right now. The establishment doesn’t go easily into the sunset.”

Though Sanders recently completed a “unity tour” with new DNC Chair Tom Perez, the tour further exposed the divides within the Democratic Party. Perez was repeatedly booed, mocked and criticized—both at the events and on social media. Progressives and establishment Democrats attacked one another over Georgia congressional candidate Jon Ossoff, as Sanders refused to call him a progressive despite Ossoff failing to embrace the term himself. Sanders’ decision to campaign for Omaha mayoral candidate Heath Mello also incited criticism from establishment Democrats due to Mello’s record of pushing for restrictions on abortion as a state senator. Despite the establishment’s abrasive attitude toward Sanders and progressives, Sanders’ popularity is the highest of any politician in the country, and he is widely recognized as the prevailing leadership against the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress, along with the Democratic establishment, which continues to suppress pushes for reform.

Toward the end of the interview, Sanders was asked how his political revolution and the Trump resistance movement differs from past movements. “All of those areas, whether its gay rights, women’s rights, civil rights, you are talking about people fighting for liberation in a particular way. This I think is a more generalized resistance. And I think it is moving in the direction of a class based way, which says essentially that the billionaire class in this country cannot continue to direct the economics and politics of this country. By the way, you aren’t seeing this just in this country, but all over the world.”

Later on the show, which filmed in Kentucky while Sanders was on tour with Perez, Sanders said, “I don’t believe in red states. I don’t believe in blue states. This should be a strong progressive state right here. It has enormous problems. It’s run by people who are a part of the ruling class. This is where the fight is.”