He feels bad for Hillary: 5 things we learned from Bernie Sanders' Rolling Stone interview

Sanders on superdelegate math, his controversial Daily News interview, and how he really feels about Clinton

Published June 1, 2016 5:34PM (EDT)

Bernie Sanders   (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
Bernie Sanders (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson caught up with Bernie Sanders along the campaign trail in Salem, Oregon. Hidden among well-trodden talking points can be found some interesting revelations:

1. Sanders has moved beyond delegate math to superdelegate math

"The second path is to tell the superdelegates, for example, we just won by 15 points in West Virginia," Sanders said of his alternative to a flat-out race to 1,237. "I think the people of the states will make it clear to the superdelegates that they have to respect the wishes of the voters of those states and vote for the candidate who won overwhelming – I'm not talking about one or two points, I'm talking landslide – victories."

"The third path to victory: making it clear to the superdelegates that their primary goal is to make sure we defeat Donald Trump," he continued. "And that I am, in fact, the stronger candidate ... against Trump."

2. He has no plan to work with Capitol Hill obstructionists

As far as the transcript goes, Sanders seemed brusquely realistic about his inability to affect legislative gridlock.

"What are the specifics about how I, personally, all by myself, do what nobody in American history has done?" he said. "And I'm being criticized? Why don't you do it? Why doesn't the editor of Rolling Stone do it? ... With all due respect, that's an absurd question."

Instead of acting on the pipe dream of reforming the system from within, Sanders said he plans to bring his grassroots strategy with him into the Oval Office.

"The strategy – which is unprecedented, and this is where we're talking about thinking outside the box – is to have a president who actually, vigorously goes around the country and rallies the American people, who are in favor of this idea," he explained. "And [the president] rallies the American people and makes it clear that people in the Republican Party – or Democratic Party – who are not sympathetic will pay a political price."

3. His plan to break up the too-big-to-fail banks would rely on a mixture of Dodd-Frank and new legislation

"You could do, in a sense, a combination of the two by having a Sanders secretary of treasury, in the first 100 days of our administration, make a determination of which banks – if they failed – would bring systemic damage to the economy, i.e., too big to fail," he said, responding to a question in partial reference to his much-critiqued New York Daily News interview. "And then take that information, through section 121 of Dodd-Frank, which is the process by which the Fed and other, uh, other regulatory agencies, work to go forward to breaking up these institutions."

4. Barring his likely primary loss to Hillary Clinton, Sanders said his secondary objective is to reform "the rules that govern the Democratic party"

"I think the idea of having closed primaries is a dumb idea," he said. "Because the American people, more and more people, are looking at their politics as outside the Democratic and Republican parties – for a variety of reasons."

"Three million people in New York state could not cast a vote in the Democratic or Republican primary for the president of the United States," he continued. "On the surface, that's absurd. You really could almost raise legal issues. You're an independent in New York, you're paying for that election, it's conducted by the state. But you can't vote?"

5. Sanders feels bad for Hillary Clinton "in a sense"

"I feel sorry for her in a sense," he said. "Hillary Clinton spends an enormous amount of time – look at her schedule – running all over the country. You know what she does? She goes to wealthy people's homes – and she raises money! Here you are in the middle of a campaign, and she's out raising money. I'm talking to 10,000 people. She's out raising money."

Read the full interview here.

By Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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