If you thought Bernie Sanders debating Donald Trump was a pipe dream, a sheer figment of someone’s imagination that could never turn into reality, think again. According to a report by Politico, the proposed debate could actually take place.
The idea for the unusual debate was first dreamed up by Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump, who, in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live Wednesday night, told the host that he would be willing to debate Sanders if some network was eager to sponsor their debate.
While the statement was evidently uttered as a joke by Trump, Bernie Sanders was quick to accept the challenge, tweeting out his agreement for the proposed Sanders-Trump debate.
Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 26, 2016
Is Bernie Sanders making a Trump presidency more likely? | Christopher R Barron https://t.co/hiUjxFNO7o
— The Guardian (@guardian) May 27, 2016
Now, according to a report, one network is interested in sponsoring the Sanders-Trump debate. Cenk Uygur, the host of The Young Turks, an online news network that has in excess of 200 million views a month on YouTube, has proposed to pay $1 million to a charity if both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump agree to debate on the online news platform.
Making a “real” offer for a Sanders-Trump debate, Uygur appealed to the two presidential candidates to appear on the The Young Turks, promising that the news organization would pay $1 million to any charity of their choice. According to a video tweeted out from the National Press Club, Uygur has sent out formal invitations to both camps. While Bernie Sanders’ campaign has reportedly agreed to debate Trump for charity, there has been no word of confirmation from the Trump campaign.
Speaking to Politico, Uygur said his online news portal would be the perfect setting for the proposed debate.
“It would be among the most watched debates in the world. It would be a clash of the titans in terms of ideology from the right and the left without the establishment in the middle.
“They’re outsiders. We’re outsiders. They both complain about the establishment. We’re against the establishment. There is no better place for two anti-establishment figures on the right and the left to debate than The Young Turks. Our whole bread and butter is fighting against the establishment.”
— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) May 27, 2016
Meanwhile, after the offer came through, Donald Trump appeared to back-peddle from his initial statement, saying that he’d require that $10 million go to charity to participate. This deviation from his earlier statement did not go down particularly well with Uygur, who claimed that Trump’s later offer was an excuse to escape the debate. Uygur appealed to the Republican presumptive nominee to stick to his original offer.
“Our offer is an actual million dollars for charity. If Donald Trump actually is a man of his word and he cares about that it’s not pie in the sky, it’s real, come and take it.”
Love the irony. Clinton cancels debate with Sanders to focus on GE, resulting in him debating GOP nominee instead! #BernieTrumpDebate
— Myles Dyer (@MylesDyer) May 26, 2016
The proposed idea for a Sanders-Trump debate is already exciting many on both sides, with Hillary Clinton appearing as the biggest loser out of the whole episode. She had previously canceled a debate with Bernie Sanders before the California primary, saying that she would be better off spending the time meeting directly with voters.
According to Reuters, Democratic strategist Brad Bannon lauded the move by Bernie Sanders to agree on a debate, arguing that it would send a good signal to voters before the California primary.
“Smart and bold move by Sanders. The Clinton people are furious but Bernie wins points for being so aggressive.”
— Sāvion (@SavionWright) May 26, 2016
While it seems unlikely at this point that Donald Trump would agree on a debate with Bernie Sanders having made the initial offer, one can never be sure what would transpire next in this strange, unprecedented election season.
What about you — would you like to see a Sanders-Trump debate?
[Photos by Win McNamee and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]