In the fullness of time, future historians may well declare Sen. Bernie Sanders the biggest winner of the 2016 election, arguing that even though he lost the battle for the Democratic nomination, he won the war of ideas.
As the smoke clears, Sanders emerges with an approval rating 10 points above those of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and with full-on rock-star status with millennials, who soon will be the largest group of voters. He appears poised to remake the Democratic Party in his own image as an unapologetic populist who champions the vanishing middle class.
Much of this would have been unthinkable a year and a half ago, when the wild-haired 75-year-old democratic socialist from Vermont declared his candidacy and was met with derision by the political commentariat. Sanders refused corporate donors and super PAC dark money and instead campaigned tirelessly on a shoestring budget made up largely of bundled $27 donations. Relentlessly railing against evils of ever-escalating income inequality, he went on to do far better than many expected. All of which is told in granular detail and vintage Brooklandic patois in Our Revolution, Sanders' 450-page recap of his candidacy and the political revolution that almost was. In the midst of a whirlwind book tour - which stops at the Free Library for a sold-out appearance on Monday night - Sanders spoke with us last week, concerning his postmortem on the 2016 election and his vision for the way forward.
What is your takeaway from the election? "I told you so"?
What are your thoughts of the role the FBI and the Russian government played, if any, in the election of Donald Trump?
Given that Trump's margin of victory in the key swing states that won him the Electoral College was razor-thin, what message, if any, do you have for the "Bernie or Bust" voters who refused on principle to vote for Clinton?
True or false: Given that Trump will likely be afforded the opportunity to load the Supreme Court with conservative justices in the mold of Scalia, Alito, and Thomas, an agenda like yours has no hope of gaining traction at the federal level for at least a generation, if ever.
What blame, if any, are you willing to shoulder for your own defeat?