Thursday 23 August 2012
A conversation with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders ☀
- Sue Halpern: So why aren’t there more of you?
- Bernie Sanders: The answer has everything to do with money. You have a lot of candidates who will raise many millions of dollars, and 1 percent of their contributions will be less than $200. So that’s number one. When you are dependent on big money for your contributions to run your campaign, that clearly influences your worldview and your approach to politics. Second of all, in terms of the way things are done in Washington, lobbying is very significant. The big money interests have an enormous number of lobbyists who come from both political parties. So a good lobbying firm will have on its roster, on its payroll, former congressmen of both parties. So if it’s a Democrat they need to lobby, they’ll send a Democrat. If it’s a Republican, they’ll send a Republican. And these are people who you know, who served with you, and you even know their families. And that has a very significant impact on influencing legislation. So money plays a very, very important role.
- Another important factor is the media. You have a corporate-controlled media, which focuses on some issues and ignores others. So issues of income and wealth inequality—until recently—hadn’t gotten a lot of attention. In terms of global warming, if you look at the scientific community, you’ll find an overwhelming percentage of peer-reviewed articles make it very clear that global warming is real, that it is influenced by human behavior. If you turn on the media, that discussion becomes very different. And the average commentator will say, “Well, there’s a difference of opinion about global warming.” But within the scientific community there’s not a difference of opinion. So all of those factors I think influence the politics of Washington.