Bernie Sanders Demands A "Revolution In The Way We Treat Women" For This Important Reason

by Morgan Brinlee
George Frey/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In a Sunday interview on CNN's State of the Union, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders once again issued a call for "revolution." Yet this wasn't a call for the political revolution the one-time presidential hopeful was well known for routinely issuing for during the 2016 election. Rather, Sanders called for a revolution in the way we treat women and handle sexual harassment and assault. And if the #MeToo movement has been any indication, women are more than ready for a revolution.

While speaking about the allegations of sexual misconduct that eventually led to Sen. Al Franken resigning from his Senate seat, Sanders noted sexual harassment was a widespread problem impacting women far beyond just the world of politics. "Look, Al Franken indicated that he was going to resign, and I think what Franken did touches on an issue of enormous consequence for this country," Sanders told State of the Union host Jake Tapper when asked if he regrets calling for Franken to resign as some senators have recently claimed to.

The Vermont senator went on to say his worry wasn't what happened with famous people but rather with those not in the limelight. "Right now, as we speak, in restaurants all over this country, in offices all over this country, there are folks who are not famous who are harassing women, making demands on women that are obscene," Sanders said. "We need a revolution in the way we treat women in the workforce from the bottom on up."

This wasn't the first time Sanders had called for a cultural revolution of sorts when it comes to the issue of sexual harassment and the treatment of women. Sanders issued a similar call earlier this month when he joined dozens of other legislators in urging Franken to resign.

"I think what we have got to recognize as a nation, that this is a problem impacting not only high profile men," Sanders said during an interview on CBS' This Morning. "What I worry about right now as I speak is that in restaurants, in offices all over this country where you have bosses that are not famous, there is harassment, women are being intimidated, and we need a cultural revolution in this country."

Sexual harassment became a hot topic earlier this year after a report on a series of allegations made against film producer Harvey Weinstein inspired others to speak out. Since then a number of high-profile men including actors Kevin Spacey and Danny Masterson, news anchors Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer, and comedian Louis CK, among others, have been brought down by allegations of sexual misconduct.

As the allegations against powerful and influential men mounted, more and more women — and men — began to go public with their own #MeToo experiences. But as the #MeToo movement proved — and as Sanders noted during his State of the Union interview — famous folks aren't the only ones impacted by sexual harassment and assault. Rather it's an issue that impacts people from all walks of life.

And there's evidence to suggest Sanders isn't the only one eager for a revolution. According to Mic, a recent SSRS Solutions poll found 68 percent of people surveyed in the United States felt sexual harassment was either a "very serious" or "extremely serious" problem. Similarly, a poll released earlier this month by NPR and Ipsos found nearly nine in 10 people felt "a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment is essential to bringing about change in our society."

But while Sanders pushes for a cultural revolution, it seems there's one person in particular he wouldn't mind seeing taken down by the sexual misconduct allegations raised against him. "If Al Franken felt he acted inappropriately, you have a president who was on TV in a largely seen tape boasting about his assault of women,” Sanders said. At least 16 women have come forward and gone on the record to accuse President Trump of sexual misconduct. Those accusations range from assault, unwanted groping, nonconsensual kissing, sexual harassment, and walking in on women while they were in various stages of undress. Trump has strongly denied these allegations and has called his accusers "liars."

"If Franken could resign, I think it would be appropriate for the president to do the same," Sanders said Sunday during his appearance on CNN's State of the Union.