"In the last 35 or 40 years, there has been an increasingly aggressive effort on the part of the top 1 percent to take it all. And that aggression has not been effectively countered by middle-class and working families."
Sanders's interview with Mother Jones paints a picture of a bulldog fighter who understands the corrosive effect of the widening wealth-gap and its effect on politics and policy, and who will not compromise on it.
MJ: There's certainly a lot of cynicism out there about politics. Why should people think that it's even possible to solve these problems in Washington?
BS: Let's be clear: Nobody, certainly not me, has any magical solution. It may well be that the rich will win big-time. It may be that the billionaire class is so powerful in terms of their control of the economy, the political process, and the media that they will not be beat. But what I will also tell you is that I have four kids and seven grandchildren whom I love very much. I am going to do my best to try to create a country in which children are not living in poverty, in which kids can go to college, in which old people have health care. Will I succeed? I can't guarantee you that, but I can tell you that from a human point of view it is better to show up than to give up.
MJ: Why has your brand of politics not swept the nation?
BS: I think Democrats are not stressing issues that make sense to ordinary people. People say, "No one is going to stand up for me, they are too busy worrying about the billionaires."
MJ: It's interesting that talk of income inequality increases around election time, and then kind of drops off the radar.
BS: Yes. You know what else is interesting, mark my words: Every three weeks before an election the TV ads expressing great concern about our trade policy and the loss of jobs to China and other low-wage countries. And then it's forgotten about the day after the election.
MJ: When you approach moderate to liberal Democrats and ask for their support on key issues, what do you hear back from them?
BS: You can talk about raising the minimum wage, talk about pay equity for women workers, that's okay. But to really make it clear that you are going to, say, take on Wall Street in a significant way, people are nervous about that.
Bernie Sanders Goes Biblical on Income Inequality
[Josh Harkinson/Mother Jones]
(Image: Bernie Sanders, Public Domain)