Dining with the Reverend Al Sharpton in Harlem wasn’t the only thing Bernie Sanders was up to in New York on Wednesday. The Democratic presidential candidate also visited the set of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he interrupted the titular host’s monologue for a short gag while trying his best to look directly at the cue cards he was reading from. The longtime Vermont senator also sat down with Colbert later in the show to discuss his New Hampshire Primary win and many other topics.
Among other things, the two discussed the particulars of Sanders’ win in New Hampshire — especially the fact that his campaign attracted 86 percent of voters 18 to 24. Aside from suggesting Sanders was a real-life puppymonkeybaby (unsurprisingly, he didn’t know the reference), Colbert wondered why younger voters were flocking to the candidate. Sanders suspected (as many of his critics do) that his statements regarding universal healthcare and free college tuition for all American citizens, especially as a means of avoiding the current, debt-ridden situation of many young people, were at fault for his success.
“Young people are idealistic, and they look at a world with so many problems and they say, ‘Why not?'” he said. “Why can’t all people in this country have healthcare? Why can’t we make public colleges and universities tuition-free?”
The studio audience’s cheers to the contrary, Colbert countered with the obvious answer: “The answer is, that it’s expensive. It’s a very expensive thing to do.”
This led to a discussion of class warfare, in which the Late Show host suggested that “the top one percent” often vilified by Sanders’ campaign and his supporters isn’t going to just give up their power and influence. “I’ll tell you how I know,” he whispered jokingly. “I’m in the top one percent. Okay? As a matter of fact, to hell with that. The top one percent parks my car.”
Despite the jokes, Sanders countered Colbert, saying that Americans today are “very unhappy with the status quo.” Hence why the White House hopeful hadn’t budged on his otherwise lofty campaign promises and suggestions, and why he didn’t back down when pressed about it (however lightly) by Colbert. Yet Sanders’ language seemed familiar to the comedian, who pointed out that his Monday night guest, Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly had suggested that the senator’s appeal wasn’t all that different from Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
“The polls show that there were a lot of people in New Hampshire who, up until the last minute, hadn’t made up their mind between you or Donald Trump,” said Colbert.
Sanders’ response? A joke about O’Reilly threatening to move to Ireland if he won, of course, which the Late Show writers had probably given him during the pre-interview. Though in all seriousness, Sanders did note that Trump’s supporters — like all other voters — have a right to be angry about the way things are. They just shouldn’t scapegoat a particular minority group (or several) in order to find someone to blame.