Senator Bernie Sanders has been making a lot of noise as he runs as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election. Some suggest that Sanders, who is very outspoken on civil rights, has been making huge progress in his run against Hillary Clinton. Born and raised in New York, Sanders recently interviewed by Spike Lee (another Brooklyn native) with The Hollywood Reporter. In his interview, Sanders shares why he’s running for president, how he feels about the Black Lives Matter movement and President Obama and his point of view on the prison system. See a few excerpts below.
On his decision to run for president:
I love my state, very happy to be the senator. But this is what I concluded, Spike: With all due respect to Secretary Clinton and everybody else, it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. The problems facing this country now are so serious, are so deep, that the same-old, same-old ain’t going to do it. And what we need to do is create a political movement — what I call a political revolution — where millions of people come together.
On what Black Lives Matter means to him:
What it means is that we are all sick and tired of seeing unarmed people shot by police officers. That young people in African-American communities are harassed by police officers, where police departments are not there to be supportive but are in many cases oppressive, and that’s an issue that has to be addressed.
On what he thinks about President Obama:
This president will go down in history as one of the smartest presidents. Brilliant guy. And especially the more people hear from the Republicans, the smarter they think he is. But he is also incredibly disciplined and focused. You’re around the media every single day, and you have the opportunity to say dumb things — he does it very, very rarely. He is very focused.
On his relationship with President Obama:
So we have a very positive and, I think, friendly relationship.
His thoughts on Donald Trump:
He is an entertainer by and large. He did very well on television; he knows the media very, very well. Don’t underestimate him. And God knows who he is really, but we see what he personifies on TV every night. He knows how to manipulate the media very effectively, he knows how to do what he does with people. But let me just reassure you: Donald Trump is not going to become president of the United States. That I can say.
On the prison system:
You got it, you got it. And that’s why we have introduced legislation that would end private ownership of prisons and detention centers, by the way. Corporations should not be making money in this country by imprisoning people. So this whole issue of criminal justice — of keeping people out of jail, which means jobs and education for younger people — it means taking a hard look at this war on drugs. Since the last 20, 30 years, millions of people have police records for possession of marijuana.
Click here for the full interview.