Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, wasting no time after Hillary Clinton’s stunning defeat in the wee hours of November 9, issued a brief statement later in the day and then launched full-steam ahead on a tour to promote his new campaign memoir, Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.
But with the unexpected election of Donald Trump, the book tour is serving the dual purpose of channeling his supporters’ fear and anger into political activism.
Post-election talk of “coming together” and “healing” has had the predictable effect of triggering gag reflexes north and south, but in some quarters, it has been downright inflammatory. Amid protests of “Not My President” and meltdowns on the social media, Sanders has been working overtime to galvanize his supporters into a counter-force to the incoming Trump administration. In the past week, he has been interviewed on several major news networks and late-night talk shows, and he’s found time to squeeze in a couple of surprise appearances at demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
His most in-depth conversation to date was this evening at The George Washington University, where he first gave a live-streaming speech to his campaign faithful, announced just a few hours earlier. Sanders appealed to his supporters to unite in holding Trump to his campaign pledges to build the nation’s infrastructure, create jobs, and fight trade deals that hurt American workers.
At the same time, he urged them to get involved to ensure that Trump doesn’t pursue policies advancing racism , sexism, Islamophobia, and anti-LGBT. Sanders criticized Trump’s new alt-right chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and called for his immediate removal (the applause almost blew out my headphones).
Anger is powerful energy, and it appears that Bernie Sanders is attempting to direct it, like a magician aiming his magic wand, to transform it into a fire-breathing dragon to keep Trump in line and remind him that control of both houses of Congress isn’t a free pass to roll back protection for minorities, social safety net programs, environmental laws, and regulation of Wall Street.
Watch Bernie’s speech to his supporters, followed by an hour-long discussion with Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr.:
Lead photo: Bernie Sanders speaks with Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. at GWU on Nov. 16, 2016, in a promotion for his new campaign memoir.