It's been a tough week for many people, including for one former presidential candidate. During a promotional appearance on the Late Show for his new book, Our Revolution, Sen. Bernie Sanders told Stephen Colbert about his post-election plan, now that Donald Trump has been elected.
During the election cycle, Colbert said many compared supporters of President-elect Trump to Sanders' supporters. "While it’s easy to condemn, it is harder to convince, or to understand," Colbert said, asking Sanders about finding a common thread between Americans on both sides of the partisan divide. Sanders pointed out that by the end of his campaign, "Trump was posing as a hero of the working class of America." While he said he doesn't believe Trump on this, Sanders hopes he is wrong, and that Trump "does in fact follow through on some of his ideas about creating jobs and raising wages."
What is important about the way that Sanders treats Trump's election is that he doesn't gloss over what he considers to be the many issues with a Trump presidency, including proposed tax breaks for billionaires. But at the same time, he acknowledges that Trump doing a good job as president would be the best-case scenario for the country. And, rather than placing the blame for Trump being elected squarely on a group of Americans, Sanders pointed out Trump addressed fears of middle-class people that members of the Democratic Party did not.
"I think what the punditry and the establishment does not understand, there are a lot of people in this country who are suffering, who are hurting, who are scared to death about tomorrow for their kids, and [Trump] tapped into that anxiety," Sanders said.
Colbert at one point asked Sanders to keep his answer light, seeing as he was on late-night television. But Sanders kept going with his sincere, serious message for the American people. When Colbert jokingly asked if Sanders wanted to change the title of his book from Our Revolution, Sanders disagreed. It's our revolution "now more than ever," he said emphatically. Rather than be negative about America's future, or live in the past, Sanders has accepted the results of the election. "What we have to figure out is where do we go from here? This is the reality," Sanders said. He expressed optimism for the future, and he said he's "inspired" by the "incredibly beautiful people" he's seen as he's traveled through the United States.
"Something is fundamentally wrong, and what I’m trying to do right now is to bring about structural changes in the Democratic Party so that it becomes a grassroots party," Sanders said to loud cheers from the studio audience. This is a lofty aim, but, as Sanders pointed out, change really can begin from the bottom. "The vast majority of the American people are on our side. Trump’s views are a minority," Sanders said, sending a clear message that Americans should stand united.
So what now? According to Sanders, a lot. "What you do now," Sanders explained, "is get involved heavily into the political process. When millions of people stand up and fight back, we will not be denied." If you're an American, it's in your best interest to get involved in creating positive change for the country. Whether you're donating to Planned Parenthood in Vice President-elect Mike Pence's name, or gathering supplies for Dakota Access Pipeline protesters at the Sacred Stone Camp, there are plenty of concrete ways you can improve peoples' lives. As Sanders said, "now more than ever." Change doesn't stop with electing a candidate. We all need to do our parts as well.