Bernie vs. Billionaires: Unafraid of Bloomberg and Would 'Beat Trump Badly'
"There would be nothing more in this world that I would like than to take on Donald Trump," said Sanders on Sunday. "We would beat him, and we would beat him badly."
If it ends up that former New York City mayor and Wall Street billionaire Michael Bloomberg enters the presidential race as an independent and that billionaire entertainer and real estate tycoon Donald trump wins the Republican nomination, count Sen. Bernie Sanders among those undaunted by such a scenario.
Asked by Meet The Press host Chuck Todd on Sunday morning what he thought about the possibility of running against either Trump, Bloomberg, or both, Sanders did not demure.
"My reaction is, if Donald Trump wins and Mr. Bloomberg gets in, you’re going to have two multi-billionaires running for president of the United States against me," Sanders said. "And I think the American people do not want to see our nation move toward an oligarchy, where billionaires control the political process. I think we’ll win that election."
On the specific question of Trump, Sanders explained why he thinks the movement his campaign is inspiring should be seen as the perfect antidote to the outrageous agenda bring forth by the current Republican frontrunner.
"I would very much look forward to a race against Donald Trump, a guy who does not want to raise the minimum wage, but wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top two-tenths of 1% who thinks wages in America are too high and who thinks that climate change is a hoax, invented by the Chinese," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"Chuck, there would be nothing more in this world that I would like than to take on Donald Trump. We would beat him, and we would beat him badly."
As Sanders notes in his response to Todd, various head-to-head national polls have shown that Sanders would clobber Trump in a general election and by significantly larger margins than Hillary Clinton.
Also important to understanding about his candidacy, said Sanders continued, is how it is inspiring people who have either never been engaged in politics are who have become so cycnical by the "establishment" that they have dropped out.
"We are taking on the political establishment, we're taking on the economic establishment, the financial interest in this country, and we're taking on the corporate establishment," Sanders said. "That is what is unique about this race. That in fact, we are trying to make a political revolution bring millions of people into the political process that Washington and all of these politicians have significantly turned their backs on."
Recent polling in New Hampshire, Iowa, and nationally over the last week have shown the momentum clearly in his favor. And the reason his campaign is generating so much interest and enthusiasm, according to Sanders, is because "people think it's time that we take on the establishment. Take on Wall Street. Take on big money interest. And that's why I believe we're doing as well as we are."
As Sanders told a crowd at a rally in Maquoketa, Iowa on Saturday night, millions of people across the country are increasingly frustrated and fed up with the status quo. In a response to former president Bill Clinton—who said in recent days that what Democratic voters need "is not anger but answers"—the Vermont senator addressed the jab directly. "Well, you know? It's true," Sanders told the crowd. "I am angry. And millions of Americans are angry."
"They are angry that we have more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on Earth," he said to applause. "They are angry that millions of young people are graduating school deeply in debt. I am angry that we have a minimum wage of $7.25 which is a starvation wage. So there is a lot, in fact, to be angry about."
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton also appeared on Meet The Press on Sunday. Asked about Bloomberg's talk of self-financed campaign, Clinton made no mention of the implications of another billionaire possibly entering the race, but called the former New York City mayor "a close friend" of hers.
"The way I read what he said," explained Clinton, "is if I didn't get the nomination, he might consider it. Well, I'm going to relieve him of that and get the nomination so he doesn't have to."