“Bernie is chock full of authenticity. The dude hasn’t combed his hair in 40 years,” Uygur says tells TheWrap. “You don’t fake a 40-year record”
The Young Turks founder and CEO Cenk Uygur thinks the political “tsunami” is upon us and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is lowering the value of a Wharton education.
Uygur says that the bizarre election cycle is a result of Washington and the media not being able to “wrap their minds around the idea that we don’t like politicians. The whole country doesn’t like politicians and young people like them even less,” he explained.
While the younger generation may be anti-politicians overall, outsider-candidate Bernie Sanders, 74, is extremely popular with millennials. Uygur recently sat down with Sanders for in-depth web interview that drew 640,000 live viewers on the Internet and “a million” later watching On Demand.
Uygur is far from finished making noise in the 2016 election, telling TheWrap that TYT is in the development stages of an upcoming town hall event. We caught up with The Young Turks boss to discuss what Sanders means to millennials, how he attended the same school as Donald Trump, and Obama’s reaction to the terror attack in Brussels.
TheWrap: You went to the Wharton School … Does it increase or devalue your degree when Donald Trump repeatedly calls it “the best school?”
Cenk Uygur: It devalues it — there is no question about that. But I do get to say to the right-wingers, “if you think going to Wharton means you know exactly what you’re talking about — great, then you should listen to my show, too. I also went to Wharton.” And most of the knucklehead, right-wing talk show hosts are lucky they graduated from high school. So Donald Trump has now trained his supporters to think that you are, by definition, better if you went to a school like Wharton. Well I guess all the right-wingers should stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and all those other guys and immediately come watch The Young Turks.
After speaking with Bernie Sanders, did you get the idea that he truly believes he can go all the way and win the presidential election?
Yes. Now, I would imagine that he’s realistic about it — but now I’m speculating a little bit. If anything, I sense that he was more optimistic than I was. So, yeah, I think he feels that he still definitely has a chance.
Why does Bernie seem to understand millennials better than the other remaining candidates?
Millennials mainly look for authenticity and Bernie is chock full of authenticity. The dude hasn’t combed his hair in 40 years. When you look at him, you know he’s not faking it, right? He’s had the same positions for 40 years. You don’t fake a 40-year record.
What will the landscape of politics look like in 20 years when these millennials are running things?
It’ll be unrecognizable, [but] it’s not going to take 20 years. If the establishment wins this election, and that’s still an “if,” it’ll be the last election they win. The tsunami is here. Bernie Sanders closed a 59-point lead that Hillary Clinton had on him in one year. And now in the latest poll, he’s up by one point. That’s a 60-point swing in the span of a year for a politician that had almost no name recognition and was widely dismissed in Washington for being too liberal. The electorate roared and said, “you’re wrong.” It’s, of course, entirely possible that he’s not going to win this time around but if he doesn’t, the tsunami doesn’t go away.
Would Sanders consider running on Hillary Clinton’s ticket as te VP?
I would be very surprised by that.
What did having Sanders visit your studio for a long-form interview mean for the Young Turks and digital media in general?
In some ways it’s a game changer. It’s an indication of the seat change that is coming. We have 640,000 live views on it let alone the millions we’ve gotten from video on demand. So, if you do the math on that, if you go on cable news you’ll get a similar live number but you won’t get anywhere near the size of the video on demand audience that we have. So by coming to an on-line show, they’re gonna reach a couple of million more people than they would if they’re coming on a TV show. Not only that, they’re going to reach a different demographic.
I know why politicians want to go on TV, that’s where really old people are. And old people vote. I get it. If you want to reach people under 65, you’re much, much better off going on an on-line show, as 75 percent of our audience is under the age of 35.
How do you feel about Obama’s reaction to the attacks in Brussels? Some media members have criticized him for attending the baseball game in Cuba afterwards and doing the tango.
The reaction to it is, as usual, deranged. The right-wing actually could criticize Obama on 100 different things, they don’t because they actually agree [with him]. The income inequality, the awful trade deals — they love all those things about Obama. That’s why when they go to criticize him, it’s always on something that’s nonsense. So, he’s in Cuba for a diplomatic trip when an unexpected event happens and they say, “I can’t believe he’s in Cuba.” What kind of criticism is that? What, did you want him to do just drop everything and run to Brussels? And if he had, you know and I know they would have criticized him for trying to take advantage of a terrorist bombing for politics.
Watch Cenk’s entire interview with Bernie Sanders here.