Senator Bernie Sanders Interviewed on Democracy Now!…Said He Fears That the United States Is on the Verge of Becoming an Oligarchy

By Elaine Magliaro

Last Wednesday, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now! interviewed Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent, Vermont) via telephone. At the end of the interview, Sanders said, “I fear that we may be on the verge of becoming an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires control not just the economy, but the political life of this country. And that’s just something we’re going to have wrestle with.”

Excerpt from the Senator’s Democracy Now! interview:

AMY GOODMAN: [This is] Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, on this day after. That’s right. Last night, Tuesday night, during Democracy Now!’s five-hour special broadcast, Juan González and I spoke with Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, just as it started to become clear from early election results that the Senate was clearly going to be controlled by Republicans.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: What I do know is that if in fact the Republicans carry the Senate and control the Congress, as they may, I think it will be a disaster for the middle-class and working families of this country. And we’re just going to have to figure out how we can fight back as effectively as we can.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what do you see as the options for—in case that does turn out to be the result tonight, what do you see the options in terms of how President Obama can move forward any kind of a Democratic or progressive agenda in the remaining two years?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I think it’s quite far-fetched to believe that he can move forward a progressive agenda. I think the immediate effort will be to stop to have more tax breaks for the wealthy and large corporations, which the Republicans will certainly bring forward. I think under the guise of, quote-unquote, “entitlement reform,” they will be making efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare. They’ll go after Medicaid. They’ll go after education. They’ll go after nutrition. They’ll probably want to increase funding for the military. And my guess is, with all of the money from the Koch brothers coming in and the other fossil fuel industries, they’ll continue to ignore scientific evidence about climate change. So, I think we’re going to be more of a defensive mode trying to prevent bad things than having illusions at this point about doing good things.


Sen. Bernie Sanders: The United States is on the Verge of Becoming an Oligarchy (Democracy Now!)


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15 Responses to Senator Bernie Sanders Interviewed on Democracy Now!…Said He Fears That the United States Is on the Verge of Becoming an Oligarchy

  1. blouise says:

    “I think we’re going to be more of a defensive mode trying to prevent bad things than having illusions at this point about doing good things.”

    Yep … but Republicans have a small problem. Doing too much during the next two years endangers their chances in 2016. However, the big money folk may demand instant gratification which, if not forthcoming, may also hurt them in 2016. Also …

    This time around, 2014, Democrats had 10 Senate seats to defend but in 2016 Republicans have 24 seats to protect and some of those are very iffy. In other words, if the Republicans don’t make a heavy statement during the next 2 years they might not hold the small majority they now possess.

    A great deal is going to hinge on the Presidential candidates and the voter turnout they inspire.

    Everything is up in the air which is exactly the way the American people like it (my explanation for the “Independents” craze). Fear mongering will be the name of the game on both sides.

  2. Elaine M. says:


    I thought you’d find this interesting:

    UP 11/08/14
    Putting Tuesday’s election into perspective
    Up’s Steve Kornacki breaks down Tuesday’s midterms in comparison to elections of the past.

  3. swarthmoremom says: “WASHINGTON — Over the past three years, House Republicans have repeatedly tried, and failed, to bar federal agencies from adopting regulations to govern the campaign finance landscape created by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. Now, with their party seizing control of the Senate, that effort to stop new rules may win, too.

    The Senate will likely be led next year by the primary antagonist to campaign finance reformers, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Over three decades, McConnell has made it a top priority to disrupt and degrade campaign finance regulations. With a firm belief that limits on campaign funds are a direct impediment to the First Amendment right of free speech, he has opposed past reform efforts, including challenging in court the 2002 McCain-Feingold law, the passage of which he once called the worst day in his political career.

    With McConnell’s ascendance and with Republicans increasingly unified in opposition to campaign finance reform, its advocates expect a full-frontal assault on the few areas where they had hoped to enact new rules in the post-Citizens United world.

    “This has always been Senator McConnell’s DNA issue,” Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer said, “the issue he seems to care most about.”

    In an interview with The Huffington Post, Wertheimer, the dean of campaign finance reformers in Washington, predicted in particular that Republicans will seek to defund efforts by the Internal Revenue Service to write new regulations governing the political activity of certain nonprofits.

  4. swarthmoremom says:

    A stunning surprise coming out of this year’s elections is that the most dominant contenders were not glad-handing braggarts, but the least likely of participants: Shy people.

    That’s strange, since running for office these days is assumed to be an ego game, attracting the loudest of self-promoters. But the big winners on Tuesday were a group that actually campaigned anonymously, not even whispering their names to the voters.

    Indeed, these were not the candidates listed on your ballot, but shadow candidates that are not even people. They are corporations that have been empowered by the Frankenstein-majority on our Supreme Court to exercise the political rights of us real human-type persons. Only they’ve been endowed with far more political power than you and me, for the Court decreed that these corporate “persons” can spend unlimited amounts of their shareholders’ money on TV ads and other campaign tools to elect or defeat whomever they choose – without disclosing their names to voters.

    What we have here is the rise of a stealth oligarchy in America. These politically shy corporations are pumping untold millions of dollars out of their practically bottomless corporate treasuries to elect Congress-critters, governors and ultimately presidents who will serve their narrow special interests at the expense of the public interest. You would know these cagey corporate campaigners, for they are major brand names from Big Oil, Big Food, Big Pharma, etc. Normally, they’re not at all timid about promoting themselves, but – shhhh – they don’t want us to have any inkling that they’re running surreptitious, multimillion-dollar campaigns that have become a deciding factor in who holds public office in America.

    One reason they hide their names is that they run overwhelmingly negative campaigns, degrading our so-called political discourse with the most disgusting, mendacious and vitriolic smears against the opponents of the corporate-friendly candidates they hope to elect. They would never want such slime attached to their corporate brands, for it would anger and repel their customers, employees and shareholders. That’s why their lawyers pushed the Supreme Court so hard to let them do their repugnant politicking, yet not have to be accountable for it.”

  5. blouise17 says:

    ” …stealth oligarchy ”

    That’s a very effective phrase … excellent sound bite

  6. swarthmoremom says:

    Jim Hightower is from the good old days in Texas. It sees inconceivable that a man like that was ever elected to public office in Texas.

  7. blouise17 says:


    Thanx for the clip. Yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.

    The American voter is far more canny than most give them credit for. We have very little respect for politicians and like to keep them off balance and as ineffective as possible. That’s why so many register as Independents. They know which way they’re going to lean, they simply don’t want the politicians to know. It’s been a very quiet sort of revolution and I am willing to wager that voters on both the right and the left have something very strong in common … an intense dislike and distrust of political leaders in general no matter which party they represent.

    Republicans and Democrats have been betrayed so many times by these money grubbing, sex seeking fools that we have developed our own protection mechanism. And now it’s becoming even more difficult for politicians to measure the public’s position.

    Thanks to smart phones and the internet, pollsters are having trouble contacting folk. Few people, especially those under 40 years of age, are tied to land lines or snail mail, nor are they willing to identify themselves as anything other than Independents. It’s becoming more and more difficult to garner the numbers needed to conduct a legitimate poll and without accurate polls, dumb ass politicians don’t know what position to take in order to appeal to voters. Just look how badly the Republicans underestimated Obama’s victories or how far off the grid they were with Sarah Palin.

    Good Lord, one misstep or one mis-speak can go viral in minutes and sink an entire campaign … Republican or Democrat.

    It’s been a quiet revolution and a revolution that is still ongoing

  8. Mike Spindell says:

    Bernie was the highlight of Bill Maher’s show last Friday. He is one of the best people in American Politics in the last 50 years and yes I would vote for him as President, whether he could win or not.

  9. Mike Spindell says:

    I agree the American public is much smarter than they are given credit for. That is indicated by the low voter turn out. They understand the game is rigged. It is the pols and the pundits that think them stupid based on their own sense of superiority.

  10. buckaroo says:

    Someone has to revue the tax code to make it more equitable for the blue collar self-employed worker who works for income – I observe sparse rhetoric on this issue. Because these hard working Americans do not have an organized political group, they get politically ignored. Oh, there is talk about the Middle Class but only as a slogan – a passing thought. Progressives claim to be for the working man, but only if he belongs to a political committed organization. Sometime I think that an income worker, especially if self-employed, is the Tommy in Kipling’s Tommy, Tommy. You don’t need him until the roof leaks, the toilet overflows, the Chest Pain starts, or the descendant gets arrested

  11. Elaine M. says:


    Bernie definitely was the highlight on Maher’s program last Friday. I love that he speaks his mind and doesn’t have “handlers” advising him on what to say/what not to say. He tells the truth. That’s certainly refreshing for a member of Congress.

    BTW, he was interviewed on C-Span this weekend.

  12. Annie says:

    I think Bernie Sanders could win and I think Elizabeth Warren could win, but maybe I’m simply whistling in the dark. If Hillary gets the nomination, I think Democrats have a better chance at losing the Presidency. Obama was not as far left as the base wanted/needed him to be, he capitulated to the Republicans and seemed to be influenced by some very bad actors, military industrial complex and he seems too cozy to Wall Street. We need a candidate who has shown himself herself to be what they say they are. Sanders and Warren have a history, Obama didn’t. I’m relieved he is still President and that he has veto powers, but why the hell didn’t he stick to principle? I wonder if 2010 would’ve given the House to Republicans if Obama had been willing to follow a liberal agenda instead of being too bipartisan. Sanders has an excellent message, he tells it like it is, especially about the Oligarchy. He seems quite healthy and still strong physically and mentally. He has proven what he’s made of.

  13. This is where i go crazy. As the banter has gone inane (by my beloved Bernie Sanders).

    “Fears we are becoming on oligarchy”


    We’ve been one since JP Morgan sold U.S. out, FDR signed the BK papers;
    and the gold standard was abolished (that LBJ made even more morose)
    (See Emergency Relief Act and abrogate of gold standard 73rd Congress 1933)

    It is only the degree of how long we’ve been on the Oligarchy roadway
    —————————————————————————————— that’s debatable!

  14. blouise17 says:

    Bernie Sanders is a name we like to throw out there when we want to scare conservatives to death. And since Obama won TWICE, conservatives know we can out vote them so … hell, why not?


  15. ragnarsbhut says:

    If Bernie Sanders is a multimillionaire, he could be in the 1%, so he could be seen by some as being part of the Oligarchy. Just my thoughts.

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