On Friday’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist running for president, received a warm welcome and was asked if he was fine with being called a “socialist.”
“You are a liberal and you are a socialist, and people call you a liberal and a socialist. Why would you not accept those two terms as the insults they are meant to be?” Colbert asked Sanders.
Sanders first laughed at Colbert’s question, saying he prefers to be called a “progressive.” Sanders then compared his policy views to one of many democratic socialist countries in Europe, Denmark.
“In Denmark everybody has health care as a right and their system is higher quality and more cost effective than our system. In Denmark — at a time in America where people can’t afford to send their kids to college — people go and get a higher education, go to college, for free. They have a very strong childcare system. For the middle class, wages are higher. So what you have is a society where government — as I believe it should be, radical idea though it may be — should actually represent working people and the middle class rather than large campaign donors.”
Sanders’ statements were met with whooping applause.
“Well, if you can stick around, if you can stick around for one second we gotta get some messages right now from giant corporations to pay our bills,” joked Colbert.
In less than six months, Sanders has gone from obscurity to a fighting chance at winning the Democratic presidential nomination.
Sanders, Vermont’s junior U.S. Senator, leads in the polls in the first two primary states, Iowa and New Hampshire — causing nervousness among Hillary Rodham Clinton’s supporters. Sanders now leads Clinton by 10 points in Iowa and 22 points in New Hampshire, according to YouGov. Plus, Sanders polls significantly better among younger voters than Clinton.
Sanders has been drawing massive crowds that dwarf his presidential rivals. In Los Angeles, he filled a stadium with over 27,000 people, and in Portland, roughly 28,000 people came across the state to hear him speak.
“Who does he think he is? A Rolling Stone?” Colbert said about Sanders’ campaign rallies.
You can catch Sanders on this week’s TIME magazine.
“People are dying to get on that cover. I apparently did,” teased Colbert as he held up his and Sander’s TIME cover story.
Watch a clip of Sanders on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert below.
[Image via Win McNamee / Getty Images]