With just a few days remaining before the mid-term elections on November 6, Sen. Bernie Sanders launched an AMA on Reddit to answer questions and encourage readers to get out and vote. The AMA was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Eastern and it started a few minutes late. By the time it started, there were more than 400 comments on the thread. You can read the entire thread on Reddit here. The top-voted question, not surprisingly, was whether he was going to run in 2020. But he was asked many questions that he provided frank answers to, including whether he had ever smoked weed, what he thought about Saudi Arabia and the war in Yemen, and more.
Bernie Sanders Hasn’t Answered the Question About 2020 Yet
He hasn’t answered that one yet, but here are some of his other answers:
Sanders Said Democrats Should Raise the Minimum Wage & Lower Prescription Drug Costs If They Take Control of Congress
One person asked what is the first thing Democrats should do if they take control of the Senate or House. Sanders responded: If Democrats take control the House or the Senate we must move to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. We must immediately lower prescription drug costs in this country and we must work aggressively towards Medicare for All. We also have to take on Trump in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy as we combat the great threat of climate change.”
He Called the War in Yemen an ‘Unbelievable & Horrific Humanitarian Disaster’ & Said We Shouldn’t Be Allied with Saudi Arabia
When asked about the war in Yemen, Sanders said: “…A resolution I brought the Senate floor with Senators Lee and Murphy called for ending in the war in Yemen. That war is an unbelievable and horrific humanitarian disaster. That country is facing a cholera epidemic and widespread famine. We should not be allied with a dictatorship like Saudi Arabia who is leading the effort in that war. Further, in my view, that war is unconstitutional because Congress, which has the war-making authority in our form of government, has not authorized it. Let’s get out of Yemen as soon as possible and help bring humanitarian help to that struggling country.”
He continued: “Saudi Arabia is a brutal dictatorship which does not tolerate dissent, which treats women as third class citizens and which is run by a handful of multi-billionaires. I strongly condemn Trump’s affection for the rulers of Saudi Arabia, and if we are to avoid a never ending war in that part of the world, it is imperative that we develop an even-handed policy toward Iran and Saudi Arabia.”
He Said That He Did Smoke Marijuana When He Was Younger, Coughed A Lot, & Believes in Legalization
When asked if he smoked weed, Sanders said that he did when he was younger.
“When I was a young man, I did smoke marijuana on several occasions. For me, the result was a lot of coughing. Having said that, I strongly believe that we should move toward the legalization of marijuana because that issue is an integral part of our failed criminal justice system. Today in America, we have more people in jail than any other country, and there are millions of Americans who have police records because they were arrested for possessing marijuana. And when that happens, it can be harder to get a job or an apartment. If we are serious about criminal justice reform in this country, we must move towards the legalization of marijuana and that is something I’ll fight for.”
He Talked About Health Care & a Four-Year Phase-In Program for Medicare for All
Quite a few people asked Sanders about health care. He said about single-payer care: “I would hope that there would be widespread support in Congress, as I know there is among the American people for the legislation that I’ve introduced, which would guarantee healthcare to all Americans through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program. The first year of the 4-year phase-in program calls for lowering the eligibility age from 65 to 55 and for covering all the children in America. I would hope we can get widespread bipartisan support for that. Further, all Americans, whether they’re conservative or progressive understand we’re being ripped off by the pharmaceutical industry, which charge us by far the most per country. The American people want us to stand up to the drug industry and I hope very much we gain bipartisan support to do that.”
He Wants To Lower the Burden of Student Loan Debt
When asked about student loan debt, Sanders wrote: “This is a huge issue which I am deeply immersed in. Not only do we have to make colleges and universities tuition-free but we have to provide help to the tens of millions of Americans who are struggling with outrageous levels of student debt. Right now, there are millions of Americans who have $50,000 or $100,000 of debt and struggle to pay that debt often at high interest rates. If Trump and his Republican colleagues can provide a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the top 1% we can make public colleges and universities tuition-free and substantially lower the burden of student debt on millions of Americans.”
He Was Downvoted When Asked About His Favorite Book & He Said It Was a Book That He Wrote
Every AMA needs at least one downvoted answer. One of Bernie’s was when he said a book that he wrote was his favorite book.
That answer didn’t go over too well. One person wrote, “okay dude now whats [sic] your favorite book that you’ve read by somebody else.” Someone else said, “That answer sounds like a PR bot.” But others defended him, such as the Redditor who wrote: “Wtf? He can’t pick something that he clearly worked very hard on and cares deeply about. You’re clearly taking his response the wrong way.”
Sanders Said We Can Learn A lot from Scandinavian Countries
When he what we can learn from other countries, he pointed to Scandinavian countries as an example.
“I think there is a great deal to learn from many countries around the world especially Scandinavian countries. These countries – Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden – provide healthcare to all people as a right, have excellent universal child care programs and make higher education available to all their young people at no or little cost. Further, they have been aggressive in taking on climate change and moving towards sustainable energy. These countries understand it’s important to have a government that works for all of their people, not just the people on top, and that’s a lesson we must learn for our country.”
He Said Meeting People Around the Country Gives Him Hope for the Future
One of his very first answers was encouraging the younger generation to get out and vote. “This is the most important midterm election in the modern history of this country and it is enormously important than young people come out and vote. In fact, in my view, if young people vote at the same percentage as older people do we can transform this country and move aggressively towards, economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice. Do not sit out this election. It it [sic] too important. Please vote and bring your friends and co-workers to the polls.”
When asked what makes him hopeful, he wrote: “What makes me hopeful in these very difficult times is that I get around the country a lot and meet extraordinarily wonderful people. In the last two weeks, as part of this campaign, I will have visited 12 states in support of Democrats and progressive candidates. I have met with hundreds of people who are working day and night working to improve their communities and these people give me a great sense of hope for the future.”
Sanders’ last AMA on Reddit was three years ago when he was running for President of the United States.
This is a developing story.