One-on-one with Sen. Bernie Sanders in Aiken ahead of Democratic Primary

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AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Sen. Bernie Sanders is in Aiken, South Carolina Friday, ahead of Saturday’s Democratic Primary.

We got a chance to speak one-on-one with the Senator about the campaign.

Senator, many Americans are upset by the division in our country. As someone who’s been classified as ‘far left’ how would you work to repair that division?

“I don’t classify myself as ‘far left’. Raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour is not ‘far left’. Doing what every other major country on Earth does, guaranteeing healthcare to all people as a human right is not ‘far left’. Making sure that all of our kids can get to college regardless of their income is not ‘far left’. And I’ll tell you what’s not ‘far left’…dealing with the global crisis of climate change, which is going to impact South Carolina and has already impacted South Carolina. That’s not ‘far left’. That’s what we’ve got to do.”

As for the division, how would you work to repair it?

“We work to repair it by bringing people together around an agenda that works for all of us, not just the one percent. And all of the issues that we are talking about, they have a lot of support in South Carolina, they have support in Vermont, they have support all over this country. It is time that we have an economy and a government that works for all of us, not just the billionaires and wealthy campaign contributors.”

Republicans in South Carolina WANT you to win. In fact, I was talking to a South Carolina lawmaker, a Republican, yesterday who’s direct quote was “We want Bernie to win because we think Biden would be harder to beat.” Why do you disagree?

“Because we are, by far, the strongest campaign to defeat Donald Trump. And if Republicans want me to win, that’s great. Because they are going to learn in November that is a really bad mistake. The last 50 polls that I have seen, we beat Donald Trump 47 times. We are beating Donald Trump in battleground states, like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. We’re going to beat Trump because we have a grassroots movement. Millions of people who are standing together, multigenerational, multiracial, fighting for justice. That’s something that Trump cannot compete with.”

Speaking of that movement, you resonate with young people, you resonate with minorities. Obviously you’re a white man and, Senator I’m not calling you old but comparitively-

“I’m a white man?! Oh my god I didn’t know that! Hahaha”

I’m not calling you old but comparatively…

“You can call me old.”

A 78-year-old white man, why do you resonate with young people and minorities?

“Well because we are talking about the issues that are revelant to their lives. You’re a young person, you have student debt?”

Yessir.

“That’s right. What we are saying is that if we can bail out the crooks on Wall Street, we can cancel all student debt in this country. Young people are working jobs that are not paying them a living wage. That’s why we’re going to raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour. Young people understand that climate change is an existential crisis to this country. Young people understand we have to end racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and religious bigotry. That’s why I think we’re resonating.”

If you win the presidency, will you come back to Aiken County and why?

“Absolutely. We’re going to be all over this country. We’re going to try to bring this country together around an agenda that works for all people and we’d be proud to come back here.”

You can watch Sen. Sanders’ speech to the crowd in Aiken HERE.

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