Viva Socialism! Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren Do Late-Night TV

By Susan Jones | August 15, 2018 | 6:58am EDT
Sen. Elzabeth Warren (D-Mass.) appears on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" on Aug. 14. (Photo: Screen capture/NBC)

( - They appeared on different late-night shows Tuesday, but their message was essentially the same:

The U.S. government works for wealthy, "greedy" Americans, not "the people" (Sanders and Warren); the Republican tax-cut bill "stinks like three-week-old garbage" (Warren); "socialism" is not a dirty word (Sanders); and to provide free health care, free public college, and retirement "dignity," we should all be "willing to pull together to pitch in some of our money to try to make that happen" (Warren).

Warren, appearing on "Late Night with Seth Meyers," said Americans are "starting to ask the fundamental question -- who does government work for?"

"And boy, has that become even clearer over the last year and a half," she said. "The Republicans passed this gigantic tax give-away. A trillion and a half dollars to giant corporations and bazillionaires. That's who they think government should work for. That the rich and the powerful should get richer and more powerful. My view on this and a lot of folks around this country is, no -- government ought to work for the people, and that's what this fight is all about. That's how I see this."

Warren said people should think about "what you really could do if you were investing that money in America." (Republicans have said that allowing people to keep more of their own money is an investment in America.)

As she often does, Warren mentioned her hard-scrabble upbringing by a janitor daddy and a sales clerk mom. She said her salvation was a 50-dollar-a-semester commuter college that put her on a path to success, and yes, wealth -- although she does not say that.

"I got to be a public schoolteacher. I got to be a college professor, and I got to be a United States senator. All because America invested in kids," Warren said, drawing enthusiastic cheers from the audience.

Host Seth Meyers, still focused on the Republican tax bill, noted that it is the "signature achievement" of Trump's term so far:

"And stinks like three-week-old garbage," Warren said. "They passed it knowing it was unpopular. Figured, hey, they'd spend a few bazillion dollars out running ads on it, and the American people would fall for it.

And here's the deal, it's more unpopular now than it was when it passed, because I think that really is the heart of where America is. I think we still fundamentally, fundamentally, down at our core, believe in the things we can do together. Believe in the things like health care is a basic human right, and our kids should be able to get an education without getting crushed by debt, and that seniors should be able to retire with some dignity and that we're willing to pull together to pitch in some of our money to try to make that happen, to build a better future for ourselves and for our kids."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" on Aug. 14. (Photo: Screen capture/NBC)

Over on CBS, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" what it means to be a Democratic Socialist:

I think it means, among other things, that if you work 40 hours a week in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, you should be earning a living wage -- 15 bucks an hour. That's what it means. (Applause )

It means-- it means, Stephen, it means that we end the international disgrace of the United States being the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right, while we end up spending twice as much per capita on health care as any other major nation. ( Applause ) It-- it means that we understand that the future of this country are our young people, and that it is insane that hundreds of thousands of bright young kids cannot afford to go to college because of the income of their families, and many others are leaving school deeply in debt, and we're going to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. (Cheers and applause)

And it-- and it means that as global citizens, people understand that we have a moral obligation to leave a healthy planet to our children and grandchildren. We're going to stand up to Trump, and we're going to transform our energy system in this country away from Fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

Colbert told Sanders that other politicians have espoused similar ideas without calling it socialism. Colbert worried that the word is "freighted with so much negativity in the United States" and "turns people off."

"I don't really think so," Sanders said. "I think the real issue is, the ideas we have been talking about, almost without exception, Stephen, are now ideas that are mainstream ideas that are supported by the vast majority of the American people. And I think, also, people in their gut understand that we're living in a really strange moment in American history, above and beyond Donald Trump-- which is very strange."

Colbert asked Sanders, "What's stranger than Donald Trump?"

Well, this is what might be stranger, is we're looking at a time where we have an out-of-control capitalism, where the greed of the people on top is really unbelievable. I mean -- (applause) right now -- rght now, in America, you've got three people who own more wealth than the bottom 50% of the American people. You've got the top one-tenth of 1% owning more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.

You got one guy, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, his wealth is increasing every single day by $250 million a day, but he pays his workers -- many of his workers-- wages that are so low that many of them are on food stamps or Medicaid. You got a situation today where the big-money interests can now contribute hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into elections to elect candidates who represent the wealthy and the powerful, which is undermining American democracy. And I think people are sick and tired of the greed and the power of a handful of people on top. They want a government which represents all of us, not just the 1%. (Huge cheers)


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