The Senator wanted to make sure he got to discuss what he believes is "the most consequential piece of legislation for working families since the 1930s."
For an interview with Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, Senator Bernie Sanders came prepared with a list of questions he wanted to discuss. The opinion columnist could not help but snap a photo of the 79-year-old with his list, which the publication later posted on their Instagram page. The list represented trillions of dollars in government spending that Sanders deemed essential. According to The New York Times, the Senator was "laser-focused" on the legislation he wished to sign into law. Nonetheless, he also discussed other topics, such as his fellow progressives Alexandria, Rashida, Ilhan, Pramila, and Ayanna, and defunding the police.
In her opinion piece, Dowd writes about how she wished "to talk to Bernie about Balenciaga. And Britney. And Dua Lipa, Sha’Carri Richardson, and Joe Manchin’s houseboat," in addition to the state of capitalism, the "absurd price" of a Birkin bag, and whether he prefers red or white horseradish on his gefilte fish. The Senator, on the other hand, wanted to discuss what he believes is "the most consequential piece of legislation for working families since the 1930s." Formerly an outsider but now a key member of the Senate, Sanders has more control over the levers of democracy than ever before.
Therefore, the septuagenarian hopes to undo the damage done by former President Donald Trump and "Trumpism" as a whole through good policy. "I would have loved to run against him, to tell you the truth," he said of Trump. "He’s a fraud and he’s a phony. That’s what he is, and he has to be exposed for that." But even with the Republican out of office, Sanders believes Capitol Hill is only on the precipice of addressing the country's needs. He stated, "It’s absolutely imperative if democracy is to survive that we do everything that we can to say, ‘Yes, we hear your pain and we are going to respond to your needs.’"
"That’s really what this is about," he continued. "If we don’t do that, I fear very much that conspiracy theories and big lies and the drift toward authoritarianism is going to continue. You got all these folks out there who are saying, ‘Does anybody pay attention to me?’" The Senator also discussed his fellow progressive Democrats, mentioning that "they really came from very much the same place that I was coming from, and they all came from different parts of the world." Notably, although, Sanders is not in lock-step with them: for instance, he prefers “fundamental reform” to defunding the police.
So, undoubtedly yes, the Senator focused on what matters most—good policy. However, it may be important to evaluate whether anyone else in Sanders's place would have received the same praise from readers. For example, had Senator Mitch McConnell arrived with a list of topics he wanted to discuss, would we react the same way or would we deem his actions evasion, a form of censorship? Perhaps there is a fundamental ideological difference between Sanders and his right-wing colleagues, but those who care about the freedom of the press may not easily accept that as a respectable excuse (of course, topics like brand Balenciaga and artist Dua Lipa aside.)