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By Staying In Race, Bernie May Drive Movements, But Not Media


Bernie Sanders had a good week again. He came close to a draw in the Kentucky presidential primary against Hillary Clinton and won the primary in Oregon. But Hillary Clinton still has a 760-delegate lead over Senator Sanders overall and is just 90 delegates away, including superdelegates, from securing the Democratic nomination for president. We turn now to Amy Goodman, host of "Democracy Now!" and the winner of the I.F. Stone Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nieman Foundation. She has spoken approvingly of that Sanders candidacy and joins us from the studios of the CBC in Toronto. Amy, thanks fo being back with us.

AMY GOODMAN: It's great to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: What do you hope happens to the Sanders campaign?

GOODMAN: It is very significant - what's taking place. I mean, I think that Bernie Sanders didn't create a movement, but he is certainly riding one. He is raising very serious questions about the political system in this country - how the electoral process works. And this is going to go way beyond the convention. But right now, this whole issue of superdelegates - I mean, when was the last time you heard the deep dive and all of the questioning that's going on right now of, really, anti-democratic process. I mean, why were the superdelegates put into place decades ago? They were really to avoid the possibility that you'd have one person, one vote. I mean, you have Congress members and governors. You have the Democratic establishment - you know, the ones that weren't really that supportive of Senator Sanders to begin with - being the ones that may well determine the presidential candidate and the president of the United States. And he's raising serious questions about whether there should be superdelegates.

SIMON: But let me put the same kind of question to you that I think some Republicans put to the Trump campaign. You know, you don't (laughter) - you don't play baseball in the American League and then complain about the designated hitter rule. Senator Sanders ran for president as a Democrat, knowing what the rules were.

GOODMAN: But you can raise very serious questions. I mean, Bernie Sanders is saying that he is here to create a political revolution. That means challenging the status quo. If you live in this country and you have serious questions about domestic and foreign policy, it doesn't mean you have to leave it. You can fight to change it and stay here. And I think that's very much what he's doing.

SIMON: The Wall Street Journal and some other news organizations have tried to add up what some of the programs Senator Sanders has proposed would cost - paying for college, fight poverty, expand Social Security. They say about $18 trillion in new spending and that would involve massive tax increases. Do you accept that reasoning? Does Bernie Sanders quite know what he's done?

GOODMAN: I think we have to add something else to the proposals he has made, and that is single-payer healthcare. That's the idea of Medicare for all. That would save this country untold amount of money without having the insurance middleman there. So I think you have a look at the overall program. It's a reallocation of money spent.

SIMON: And how do you react to the argument that as Senator Sanders persists in campaigning, it's coming at the expense of Hillary Clinton, and that promotes Donald Trump?

GOODMAN: I mean, we have a system where people run against each other. And I think that that is pretty well-accepted. I mean, how many times after Bernie Sanders won a primary was he or his surrogates asked by the press, when are you going to dropout? He wins. When are you going to drop out? He wins. When are you going to drop out?

I guess that shows he's a serious threat, but, you know, there are very serious issues being raised right now. And I'm not one for, you know, leaving in polls, by any means. I believe we should have electoral season without polls 'cause I think primaries and caucuses are fact-based polls, but the kind of polls that the media have focused on - so often wrong. I don't think that should be media coverage in election. We should focus on issues. But if the polls are any indication, you know, there are very serious times ahead. And it's fascinating that - and I don't know if they're right - but it's fascinating that a number of these polls show that Bernie Sanders would beat Donald Trump and that Hillary Clinton might not - or a smaller margin.

SIMON: Amy Goodman - her new book with David Goodman and Denis Moynihan is "Democracy Now!: 20 Years Covering The Movements Changing America." Thanks so much for being with us.

GOODMAN: Thanks so much, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.