Just days after the first Democratic presidential debate, Bernie Sanders visited Real Time With Bill Maher Friday, where the host, a Sanders supporter, hoped to “un-demonize” the word “socialist,” a term that scares off 53-percent of voters. “When they hear ‘socialist,’ they think ‘herpes,’ Bernie,” Maher warned the Vermont senator. Sanders then explained what he means by socialism, and how that frightening word actually aligns with many of the things the American people – both Republican and Democratic voters – want.
“We want to deal with the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in America, very few people think that it is expectable or moral that the top one-tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent,” Sanders said. “What we have got to do is remind fellow Americans that every other major country on Earth guarantees health care to all people as a right, and they do it more cost-effectively than we do. We have got to inform the American people that we are the only major country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid family and medical leave.”
Sanders and Maher then listed the government programs that are rooted in socialism: Social security, Medicare, Veterans Affairs and more. “We have to make the movement to correlate what we’re talking about, because on every one of the major issues I am talking about, the American people agree,” Sanders said.
“Do the American people agree that public colleges and universities should be tuition-free as they are in many other countries? Do the American people believe that the largest corporations and the wealthiest people – who today are doing phenomenally well while the middle class shrinks – do people believe they should asked to pay more in taxes? The American people say yes.”
Sanders’ message continues to resonate with potential voters, as the candidate was the most-Googled politician following the Democratic debate. “The last man your age to cause this kind of excitement, I gotta think, is Mick Jagger,” Maher told Sanders.
Later in the program, Maher and his panel – sans Sanders – played a game of “What Republicans Hear,” where the GOP reinterpreted excerpts from Sanders’ Democratic debate answers: