By Adam Johnson, a freelance journalist; formerly a founder of the hardware startup Brightbox. You can follow him on Twitter at@adamjohnsonnyc. Originally published at Alternet
After raising more in 24 hours than each of the declared GOP candidates individually, Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders went on ABC’s This Week to let America—and the D.C. pundit class that has already written him off—know he’s a real player in 2016.
Right out of the gate, when Stephanopoulos asked why he would be a good president, Sanders doubled down on his populist themes:
For 30 years I’ve been standing up for workers of this country and I think I’m the only candidate who is prepared to take on the billionaire class which now controls our economy and increasingly controls the political life in this country. We need a political revolution in this country.
After a bit of half-snark from Stephanopulous over his embrace of the “S” word, Sanders went on to defend democratic socialism and explain, in detail, why America should be trying to emulate Northern European countries rather than belittle them. The ABC host and former Bill Clinton advisor tried to pin the Vermont senator down, musing aloud, “I can hear the Republican attack ad now: [Sanders] wants America to look like Sweden,” to which Sanders deadpanned in response, “That’s right. And what’s wrong with that?”
Throughout the interview however, the Democratic senator went out of his way not to attack Hillary Clinton outright, repeating his broader themes about runaway inequality and corrupt elections, painting her more as a symptom than a discease:
It’s not just Hillary. It’s the Koch brothers. It’s Sheldon Adelson… I get very frightened for the future of our democracy when this becomes a battle between billionaires.
Watch the entire video below: