Bernie Sanders made his first appearance at the South by South West Festival, also known as SXSW. There were long lines to get into his session with Jake Tapper, whereby Tapper asked Sanders his views on current events.
Update: here the video of the session in its entirety:
In addition, I have reports from three different media outlets, but also some live tweets during the event.
According to Deadline Hollywood, the session was introduced in this way:
Appropriately, the Vermont senator was introduced with the question, “Are you ready to fill the ‘Bern’?” To which the crowd erupted with cheers. As soon as Tapper and Sanders walked out, the audience stood on their feet and a mix of applause and smartphones filled the air.
What followed was a quick-hit sprint through recent news topics, from a recent banking industry deregulation bill that Sanders opposes to recent anti-Semitic remarks from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Of the banking bill, Sanders said that large banks are more powerful today than when they were bailed out by the government 10 years ago and that he would prefer deregulation of smaller banks and credit unions, not banks with assets up to $250 billion.
Sanders disavowed racism, sexism and homophobia, but did not really address Tapper’s question about why Democratic leaders aren’t taking a harder stance on Farrakhan.
Instead, Sanders reserved his ire for the Trump administration, which he said is led by a man who unlike every prior president is “working day and night to try to divide us up based on the color of our skin or where we are from.”
Sanders called Trump’s border wall “One of the stupidest ideas in the history of the world” and said that immigration action on the DACA/Dreamers issue has been difficult because “he lies all the time,” so a proposal on it from Trump can’t be taken too seriously.
From The Houston Chronicle:
When asked about the DCCC meddling in the primary in the Texas 7th District, this was Bernie’s response:
Sanders ripped into the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for trying to unload mounds of opposition research on a Democrat they think can’t win the 7th Congressional District against U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston.
“I detest that type of politics,” Sanders said during a session moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper. “And I think most Americans do.”
Regarding about his plans for traveling in Texas:
Sanders says to get Trump out of office, people have to reach out to Trump supporters – “respectfully” – and show them all the lies Trump made on the campaign trail. He said he was going to provide health care to everyone, yet backed legislation to cut health care for 32 million people. He said he was going to provide tax reform for working families, yet in the tax bill Trump signed more than 80 percent of the benefits go to the top 1 percent.
Sanders said he doesn’t not believe most people who voted for Trump are racists or sexist, but instead “people who are hurting, who want real change in the way our government works.”
“Our job is to talk about an agenda that speaks to the needs of the middle class and not just the 1 percent,” the 76-year-old Sanders said. “That’s going to take a lot of work.”
Bernie joked that Lubbock was supposed to be one of the more progressive cities.
— Megan Boyle (@boylethemegan) March 9, 2018
A couple of questions from the online audience (bear in mind it had to be broadcasted in overflow rooms)”
Audience question: "Does calling our representatives and senators actually do anything?"
Bernie Sanders: "The short answer is yes. Not as much as if you were to donate $400M, but yes."#sxsw
— Katrina L (@thekatalysts) March 9, 2018
“More people are on the same page when it comes to common sense gun-reform… greatly expand background checks, close gun show loop hole… my opinion, shared by many, assault weapons are designed to kill human beings and should be banned for sale…” – @BernieSanders 🙌🏻 #sxsw pic.twitter.com/LebB9JjNTy
— Paige Crowe (Nixon) (@joiedv) March 9, 2018
You can catch Bernie at Trinity University at 7:30 CT:
And in Lubbock, my hometown, tomorrow. The turnout is expected to be strong. I hope there aren’t too many protesters.